Crash Differences, Vehicle Choice Help Explain Greater Risk of Injury to Women
While men are more likely than women to be involved in car accidents, new data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicate that women are more likely to suffer serious or fatal injuries on a per-crash basis when adjusting for various factors. Notably, the IIHS reports that this is not due to physical differences, but rather “the types of vehicles women drive and the circumstances of their crashes.”
The IIHS goes on to explain:
“[O]n a per-crash basis women are 20-28 percent more likely than men to be killed and 37-73 percent more likely to be seriously injured after adjusting for speed and other factors. However, when IIHS researchers limited the comparison to similar crashes, they found those discrepancies mostly disappeared and that crashworthiness improvements have benefited men and women more or less equally.”
To arrive at its conclusions, the IIHS analyzed data from car crashes occurring between 1998 and 2015. It focused specifically on front-impact and side-impact collisions (i) that were reported to the police and (ii) that resulted in at least one vehicle being towed from the scene.
IIHS Data Shed Light on Limited Differences Between Car Accident Risks for Men and Women
In explaining its analysis, however, the IIHS indicates that the differences between car accident risks for men and women are not as significant as it initially seems with the organizations’ adjusted per-crash data. The most significant risk disparity for men and women appears to be that in front-end crashes, the IIHS found that “women were 3 times as likely to experience a moderate injury such as a broken bone or concussion and twice as likely to suffer a serious one like a collapsed lung or traumatic brain injury.”
When analyzing side-impact crashes, however, the IIHS found that the disparities between the risks for men and women were not “statistically significant.”
The IIHS also conducted a second analysis focused specifically on front-end accidents involving similar-sized vehicles and airbag deployment, “[t]o determine how much of the discrepancy [in front-impact collisions] was due to the physical differences between men and women.” This analysis “flattened the disparity considerably,” with women being twice as likely to suffer a moderate injury and “a bit more likely” to suffer a serious injury.
The IIHS also found that:
- Examining all of the accident data collected, “good ratings in the [IIHS’s] moderate overlap front and side tests lowered the odds of most injuries more or less equally for both sexes.”
- In accidents involving similar-sized vehicles and airbag deployment, “the benefits of a good rating in the moderate overlap front test were greater for women except in the case of leg injuries, where the benefit was similar.”
- “In the side-impact crashes, a good rating in the side test benefited men and women about equally where moderate injuries were concerned, but the benefits of a more crashworthy vehicle were greater for women for most types of serious injuries.”
- “These results are in line with previous research that shows serious and fatal injury risk has declined more for women than men as vehicles have gotten safer.”
So, ultimately, it appears that the IIHS’s headline statistics regarding the increased risk of injury for women is limited to moderate injuries in front-end collisions. The IIHS also later acknowledges that this may be further limited to moderate leg injuries specifically.
Still, this is an issue worth examining, and the IIHS offers some suggestions as to why this disparity may exist. It focuses on two primary possibilities:
- Vehicle Choice – While men and women crash SUVs in equal proportions, women are slightly more likely to crash cars, and men are slightly more likely to crash pickup trucks. Large pickup trucks offer greater protections for drivers than small cars. The IIHS also notes that “[w]ithin vehicle classes, men also tended to crash in heavier vehicles, which offer more protection in collisions.”
- Striking Vehicle – In front-end collisions, men are more likely to be driving the striking vehicle, the IIHS reports. “Because the driver of the striking vehicle is at lower risk of injury than the struck vehicle in such crashes, this could also account for some of the differences in crash outcomes for men and women.”
Women and Men Should Seek Just Compensation After Serious Car Accidents
Regardless of an individual’s sex, that individual should seek just compensation after being injured in a car accident. As the IIHS’s data show, all individuals face injury risks when they are involved in serious collisions. Florida law entitles crash victims to compensation for their injuries—whether in the form of personal injury protection (PIP) for relatively minor injuries or in the form of fault-based compensation for injuries that have “significant” or “permanent” consequences.
To protect their legal rights after a car accident, collision victims should take some important steps promptly. These steps include:
- Calling 911 from the scene of the accident
- Collecting the other driver’s insurance information and any witnesses’ contact information
- Taking photos and videos at the scene of the crash
- Seeking medical attention promptly
- Engaging a law firm to conduct an investigation, determine liability and pursue all available claims
Even moderate injuries can lead to significant medical bills, lost hours at work, and other types of financial and non-financial losses. Serious injuries can often have devastating physical, financial and psychological effects. Asserting their legal rights allows victims to secure the financial compensation they need to move on, and it ensures that the consequences of someone else’s mistake will impact their lives no more than necessary. For car accident victims who have claims, taking action promptly can significantly increase their chances of a full financial recovery.
Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Car Accident Lawyer in Tallahassee, Tampa or West Palm Beach
If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida and would like to know more about your legal rights, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer at Searcy Denney. To speak with a car accident lawyer in Tampa, West Palm Beach, or Tallahassee in confidence, call 800-780-8607 or tell us how we can reach you online today.