The Car Safety Feature that May be Hiding Your Injuries

Roseville car with smashed crumple zone after car accident

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.

Crumple Zones Designed to Limit Car Accident Injuries

In the early days of driving, automotive engineers believed that an old heavy car that would be dangerous in a car accidentstrong 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.

How Car Design Affects Safety

Crumple zones improve car accident safety in two ways:

  1. Increasing the amount of time it takes for the force to reach the center of the car, where the driver and passengers are, thereby minimizing personal injuries.
  2. Redistributing the force so that more of it is absorbed before it reaches the driver or passengers.

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:

  • vehicle size and weight;
  • frame flexibility, or lack of;
  • and the type of stress the vehicle is likely to endure in a crash.

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.

demolished car after race car accident

When You Might Need a Car Accident Attorney

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.

Recent Blog Posts

  • a stereotypical biker who could be unfairly blamed for motorcycle accident

    California Bill Could Have Ended Motorcycle Profiling

    In February of this year, a bill was introduced by Assembly Member Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) that would have it illegal for law enforcement officials to engage in “motorcycle profiling.” The successful passing of this bill likely would have had a significant impact on future California motorcycle accident cases. Co-authored by Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-South San […]

    Read More
  • classroom where a school accident might happen

    Can You Sue if Your Child Suffers Personal Injury at School?

    Laws about whether or not you can file a lawsuit against a school vary from state to state. In California you certainly can, but first you must file a Notice of Claim within six months of the date of injury. School districts are government entities and as such are protected by what is known as […]

    Read More
  • uber app

    New California Drunk Driving Law Restricts Uber & Lyft Drivers

    Commencing July 1, 2018, a California DUI law will go into effect making it illegal for drivers with a blood alcohol content level of .04 percent or higher to operate a vehicle that carries a passenger for hire. “Passenger for hire” is a legal definition meaning “a passenger for whom consideration is contributed as a […]

    Read More
  • Sacramento Office
  • 333 University Avenue, Suite 200
  • Sacramento, CA
  • (916) 756-0772
  • Roseville Office
  • 1544 Eureka Road, Suite 120
  • Roseville, CA
  • (916) 788-1960
  • Oakland Office
  • 1300 Clay St, Suite 600
  • Oakland, CA
  • (510) 962-4610

© 2018 Penney Law, Serving the Areas of Sacramento, Roseville, Fairfield, Modesto, Stockton & Oakland California