On Wednesday, October 26, 2022, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour was in an SUV rollover accident. He was driving on a rural road and swerved to avoid hitting a dog, causing him to wreck his vehicle.
Barbour was driving close to Yazoo City, where he resides, and crashed near Wolf Lake. The Republican former politician was airlifted from his location and did not sustain serious injuries. He told police that he hit a culvert after swerving. A culvert is a tunnel-like structure that allows water to flow under an obstacle, such as a railroad or road, into a nearby waterway.
Barbour was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the incident and the airbag deployed as the SUV rolled onto its side. His accident brings awareness to the dangers SUVs present, as they are more likely to tip and roll over than other vehicles due to their design and construction.
Why SUVs are more dangerous than other vehicles
SUVs have a higher center of gravity than most cars and even small trucks. These vehicles are also typically built using narrow frames and can be loaded incorrectly by their owners due to the extra space they provide. For example, an SUV owner can place a variety of heavy objects in the back of the vehicle, creating balance issues that increase the risk of accidents.
Other reasons SUVs are considered less safe than their car and truck counterparts include relatively weak roofs. When one of these sizable vehicles rolls over during an accident, the roof caves in and can cause serious, if not fatal, injuries. Performance challenges, “sense of security” issues, and substandard government regulations round out the reasons why SUVs are not on par with other vehicles in terms of safety.
In regards to performance, SUVs are not designed to turn abruptly at high speeds, nor do they accommodate tire blowouts like other vehicles that are lower to ground. The “sense of security” issues mentioned earlier relate to an SUV’s height, size, and spaciousness, which often makes drivers think they are safer than they are. In terms of government regulations, not much has been done to make SUV designs safer and more stable.
Additional factors contributing to SUV accidents
The above issues with SUVs are not the only contributing factors to rollover accidents. Additional problems might contribute as well, such as defective or faulty parts in the SUV or other vehicle(s) involved in the accident. For example, if the tires on an SUV are defective, it heightens the risk of a blowout that can result in a rollover accident. Violating traffic laws by ignoring traffic lights, road signs, and speeding limits can also cause accidents, as can driving while intoxicated, distracted, or drowsy. Roads and highways that are not properly maintained by the local or state government creates grounds for accidents as well.
Common injuries from SUV rollover accidents
It is possible to sustain a variety of injuries from SUV rollover accidents, including:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, such as skull fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions and contusions
- Cuts and lacerations
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord trauma
- Lung punctures
- Facial injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
Factors impacting injury severity include how many other vehicles were involved, road and weather conditions, how fast the SUV was going at the time of the accident, and how much cargo the vehicle contained. An SUV carrying numerous pieces of heavy equipment, for example, can cause head trauma and broken bones, among other injuries, during a rollover accident.
What to do in the event of a rollover accident
After receiving the proper medical care, contacting a lawyer is generally the best next step following a rollover accident. The attorney reviews the case to determine who is liable, such as the SUV designer or manufacturer, another driver, a defective roadway, or other party or entity.
Evidence that supports a personal injury claim of this kind includes a medical report, police report, witness statements, and photos and videos of the accident, resulting injuries, and ongoing related health issues. Common damages requested by attorneys in legal claims like these include:
- Emergency medical costs
- Lost wages
- Ongoing medical care, such as physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Trauma counseling
- Mental anguish
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Emotional distress
Since rollover accidents can cause catastrophic injuries that may result in fatalities, it is possible for surviving family members to file wrongful death claims. Damages in wrongful death lawsuits can include funeral and burial costs, loss of companionship, and loss of income, among others.
Filing an SUV rollover claim in Mississippi
If you were recently involved in an SUV rollover accident, contact an attorney as soon as you are able. Depending on the nature of your case, the lawyer might be able to prove that negligence occurred and directly resulted in your injuries.
You should not have to deal with the legal aspects of your accident during your recovery. Let an experienced attorney handle the paperwork and work to secure damages for your injuries and losses. While most personal injury cases are settled out of court, our lawyers will fight for you in court when necessary.
The personal injury attorneys at Merkel & Cocke, P.A. are here to help you navigate this trying time. With locations in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville and Oxford, we are one of the largest plaintiffs’ personal injury law firms in Mississippi. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.
After graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1975, Mr. Cocke and Mr. Merkel established Merkel & Cocke, P.A. in 1982. Since that time the emphasis of Mr. Cocke’s practice has progressed toward medical malpractice. At the present time his practice is exclusively devoted to handling medical negligence cases for the plaintiff, either as a result of direct contact by the client or on referral from other attorneys who are not familiar with the handling of medical negligence cases. Mr. Cocke was selected Best Lawyer of the year for 2012 and 2014 in The Memphis area in the field of Medical Malpractice and has been selected a Best Lawyer and Super Lawyer every year since 2006. Learn more about John Hartwell Cocke here.