Study Reveals That the Front End of a Vehicle Can Impact the Severity of Your Injuries

Study Reveals That the Front End of a Vehicle Can Impact the Severity of Your InjuriesIf you are a pedestrian who enjoys walking around the Los Angeles area, you may not even notice the giant SUVs and pickup trucks passing by you in the street anymore. But you should be wary of these large vehicles, because of their propensity to cause life-threatening injuries in the event of a collision.

According to a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), “vehicles with especially tall front ends are most dangerous to pedestrians, but a blunt profile makes medium-height vehicles deadly too.” This means that the “nose” area of a vehicle plays a role in the severity of your injuries.

For example, the study revealed that vans and SUVs possess hoods and front ends exceeding 40 inches in height. Consequently, they exhibit a 45 percent higher likelihood of causing fatalities in pedestrian accidents when compared to smaller vehicles with hoods measuring 30 inches or less. Notably, the study highlighted that vehicles with hoods falling within the 30-to-40-inch range, featuring vertical front ends, can also inflict significant harm on a pedestrian’s body.

The IIHS President stated that the results of the study confirm that “more aggressive-looking vehicles can indeed do more harm.” Furthermore, the IIHS mentions that over the last three decades, vehicles have become significantly larger. For example, most passenger vehicles have gained about four inches in width, eight inches in height, 10 inches in length, and over 1,000 pounds in weight compared to the same type of vehicles that were manufactured decades ago. As a result, more pedestrians are suffering from fatal injuries or chronic injuries when struck by these vehicles.

The results of the study concluded with the fact that vehicles with at least 40 inch hoods and a grille sloped at a 65-degree angle were the most dangerous to pedestrians (45 percent more likely to cause a fatality). The second most dangerous type of vehicle for pedestrians were those that had hoods that were at least 40 inches in height with blunt front ends at a 65-degree angle (44 percent more likely to cause a fatality). Researchers recommend vehicle manufacturers take the safety of pedestrians into account and lower the hoods of their vehicles and create vehicles with more sloped profiles. There are no known advantages to “these massive, blocky fronts,” making them completely unnecessary.

Why do larger vehicles cause more serious injuries to pedestrians?

Larger vehicles cause more severe injuries in a car accident for two specific reasons: an imbalance in power, and the way these types of vehicles strike the body.

When a large vehicle hits a smaller object – a pedestrian, a cyclist, even a smaller vehicle – it can literally push that smaller object forward. When that object is a vehicle, the passengers are protected by crumple zones built into the car. But when that “object” is a person, there is no such protection. Further, it creates an additional risk of the pedestrian being dragged under the wheels of the car.

When a pedestrian (or cyclist, or motorcycle operator) is hit by a small sedan, he or she may suffer injuries such as a broken arm, fractured leg, or a concussion. This is because the shape of the sedan creates an impact point that is lower on the body. Even a pedestrian that is thrown over the hood of the vehicle may sustain less catastrophic injuries. But when a body is struck by a large SUV, the point of impact is higher, and there is nowhere for the body to move. Instead, the pedestrian’s torso wraps around the front of the vehicle. As such, the collision is more likely to cause severe injuries like internal bleeding, organ damage, spinal cord injury, or death.

What types of severe and catastrophic injuries do larger vehicles with wider front ends cause?

The types of injuries that larger vehicles with wider front ends cause are usually traumatic and catastrophic. Some of the most common and severe injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): Traumatic brain injuries are serious injuries that affect an individual’s brain cells. When an individual suffers a traumatic brain injury, they may experience various consequences for several years, such as memory loss, concentration issues, inability to solve problems, paralysis, personality changes, vision problems, trouble speaking, and more. However, if a traumatic brain injury is very severe, it can cause permanent brain damage and even death.
  • Fractured skulls: When a person has a fractured skull, this means that they have a crack, hole, or opening within their skull. These injuries occur when an individual experiences severe force or impact to the head, which breaks and damages the skull. If a fractured skull is severe enough, the brain could become affected as well.
  • Hip dislocations: An individual may be diagnosed with a hip dislocation if their femur moves out of its correct position, which is located in the pelvis. The human body usually experiences a lot of force for a hip dislocation to occur. When a person suffers a dislocated hip, they may have trouble moving, balancing, and even walking normally.
  • Organ damage: Organ damage typically happens when the organs in a person’s body become struck, bruised, lacerated, or completely impaired. A few of the most common organs that can experience severe damage in a pedestrian accident include the lungs, the liver, the kidneys, and even the heart.
  • Internal bleeding: Internal bleeding is a medical emergency that should be treated promptly. It happens when the blood vessels within the body are cut or lacerated, and the blood does not exit the body. Instead, it pools within the body, which can be extremely dangerous.
  • Broken ribs: Broken ribs occur when an individual’s ribs crack or completely break. This type of injury is extremely painful and can make it difficult to breathe, bend, or move around. Most of the time, broken ribs will heal on their own. However, it is important to know that when a rib is cracked or broken, it can pierce other organs nearby, such as the lungs, causing serious pulmonary injuries to emerge.
  • Broken or fractured pelvis: When a person suffers a break in the area between the hips and abdomen, this is most likely a broken or fractured pelvis. There are a variety of different bones that form your pelvis, which include the coccyx, the sacrum, the pubis, ilium, and ischium. These bones ensure that your nerves, organs, and vessels within the area are protected. Therefore, if you suffer a broken or fractured pelvis, there is a good chance that your nerves, organs, or vessels may be damaged as well.

If you or a loved one was recently involved in a pedestrian accident in the Los Angeles area, the pedestrian accident lawyers at McNicholas & McNicholas are here to help. Our team knows that pedestrians usually do not stand much of a chance against large vehicles. Therefore, we do all that we can to advocate for our clients who were severely injured by a driver and need compensation to restore their lives. If you are interested in working with an attorney who will vehemently fight for the justice you deserve, please call our office or complete our contact form. We are based in Los Angeles, but all initial consultations are done remotely. You do not have to find a way to leave the comfort of your home to speak to us.

This blog is not intended to be legal advice. If you would like to receive legal advice regarding your specific case, please consider reaching out and scheduling a case review as soon as possible.