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Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

(OP)
Hello All,

My mother was rear ended by a larger vehicle. She drove a Toyota Echo (2,000 lbs) and was rear ended by a Dodge Charger (4,000 lbs). She also rear ended an SUV in the accident. The Echo took the brunt of it as you would expect and, as a result, the Charger and the SUV din't show much damage. The insurance company for the car that rear ended her says that the damage to her vehicle must have been pre-existing because the Charger didn't show much damage.

Now I need to help her take them to small claims court and my understanding with small claims is that you should be quick and to the point for the judge. I am hoping to find a simple way to present our argument using the least amount of Physics as possible. I'm afraid that the judges eyes will glaze over and that would not be good for us.

Can anyone direct me to where I might find information that will help? I have the crash test ratings and basic data from those but those ratings are for passenger safety. I'm hoping to find something that will demonstrate why the Echo crumpled and the Charger did not. Does anyone have any tips?

Thanks in advance.

RE: Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

The crash tests results are, um, biased.

They only crash small cars against small cars, because big cars are pretty much guaranteed to demolish small cars, while suffering relatively minor damage themselves.

So, there is unlikely to be _any_ "official" crash data for a 1 ton-ish car impacted by a 2 ton-ish car. It would just frighten the populace, and nobody would be able to sell small cars, which would of course conflict with guvvamint's goal of getting everyone to drive 'economical' cars.

You might arrange a demo on the court's table by placing an egg between two anvils, sliding the anvils together, and examining the anvils for damage from the egg.

I think there were some unofficial crash tests between a Cadillac-ish car and a large truck, which suffered minor paint damage. You can probably find a video.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

First of all lets get this straight. Insurance agents will use any argument they can to get out of paying a claim. The RACV (a motoring organisation) in Australia would generally insist that the onus is on the following vehicle to avoid an accident. I braked suddenly, the vehicle following me drove off the road and got bent, RACV insurance tried to blame me. I shall be discussing this with RACV at some point.

Anyway youtube, small car vs big car crash test

eg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXunnaaYtz0

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

Just clip that very last crash; the judge will run right out and buy a Smart ForTwo. ... not.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

In some US states the Insurance Commissioner has phone lines dedicated for calls from consumers who are being fed nonsense by insurance companies.

I suspect a call from the insurance commissioner's office gets a little more attention at the insurance co than one from me.

I'd be tempted to maintain some documentation of the trouble you are going thru for the small claims court. Some sm claims courts award court costs, and triple damages for some kinds of punitive judgements.

RE: Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

(OP)
Thanks all for the tips.

I do like the idea of a demonstration (egg vs anvils) but I think the judge might frown upon a smashed egg on the table in the court room.... I think I will set up something and take a small video and pictures. I am going through the FMVSS (NHTSA) in hopes of finding design regulations that will support us and also the IIHS to see if they have anything that will support us. It doesn't take long before my eyes start to glaze over. I think my best approach in court will be to compile all of the supporting info and place a few pictures of the demonstration on the top of the stack.

I didn't think about contacting an Insurance Commissioner. That might help a lot, I'll look into that one.

Thanks again.


RE: Question - Vehicle Crash Result (Crumple Zone), Large Car vs Small Car

My son is an insurance claims adjuster and he made the comment the other day that they let adjusters-in-training handle "certain" (non-disputable) claims; like rear-end'ers. He is in Arizona, but I believe in most states there is no question who is at fault in a rear ender. Essentially boils down to following too closely; not many people leave the recommended one car length per 10 mph. Greg is correct, the insurance company is trying to pull a fast one IMO.

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