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Sometimes a car accident attorney will agree to take on a client whose injuries don’t seem to match up with the damage done to their vehicle, at least not at first glance. That doesn’t mean that the victim’s injuries weren’t caused by the car accident, but that modern cars are designed to “crumple” during collision, deforming the car and creating unpredictable areas of impact.
In the early days of driving, automotive engineers believed that strong metals made the safest cars. But in reality, the passengers absorbed most of the force from the impact of a collision. As a solution, the concept of a crumple zone was patented by a German engineer and first tested on a Mercedes-Benz W111 Fintail in 1959. Basically, certain parts of the car are made of materials that will be crushed on impact, redistributing some of the force away from the driver.
Most auto manufacturers have their own patented crumple zone designs, which can vary greatly depending on the size and weight of the car. Some of the more advanced designs use a sophisticated mix of metals and materials to absorb kinetic energy.
Crumple zones improve car accident safety in two ways:
Of course, there is more to safe design than whether or not a vehicle will crumple. Design engineers have to consider many factors, such as:
For example, a race car is far more likely to experience severe impact than a city bus, and among regular road vehicles, SUVs usually crash with more force than small cars.
As a result of these crumple zones, sometimes a car accident victim might appear to have only minor injuries. But the impact of a car accident can still be the cause of serious internal damage.
Even without obvious cuts, scrapes, or broken bones, anyone who has been in a car accident should get a thorough medical examination.
Keep in mind, too, that some medical conditions–such as whiplash injuries–may not begin to produce symptoms until days after the accident. If you have been injured and your car is a newer model that likely has a crumple zone in place, it may be a good idea to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney who can articulate injury damages separate and apart from the automobile damage.
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