Are you frequently an automobile passenger? If so, take heed: New research has examined the safest places to sit when riding in an automobile.
The Safest Seat in an Injury-Producing Automobile Accident
An Australian study of automobile accidents has found that passengers riding in the back seats of a car sustain much more serious injuries than those who are riding in the automobile’s front seat. The research looked at police and medical reports for 3681 vehicles involved in accidents between 2001 and 2011. These accidents involved 5419 front seat passengers and 4588 rear seat passengers.
According to the study: “Where the vehicle occupant was older, travelling in a vehicle manufactured between 1990 and 1996 or after 1997, where the airbag deployed, and where the vehicle was driven where the speed limit was ≥70 km/h there was a higher odds of the rear passenger sustaining a higher injury severity then a front seated occupant.”
The Safest Seat in a Fatal Car Crash
It’s important to note that this study only focuses on accidents that produce injuries. The research didn’t delve into the safest seat in a fatal car crash. Instead, a 2006 study by the University of Buffalo attempted to answer that question, examining data from automobile accidents between 2000 and 2003 that involved fatalities.
That study found that the back seat is 58 to 85 percent safer than the front seat in fatal car accidents. Furthermore, the center rear seat is safer than either of the rear seats adjacent to the car’s windows. The middle seat is safer because passengers next to the windows are in the automobile’s “crush zone.” Middle seat occupants also experience less rotational force than the people sitting next to the windows.
“After controlling for factors such as restraint use, vehicle type, vehicle weight, occupant age, weather and light conditions, air-bag deployment, drug results and fatalities per crash, the rear middle seat is still 16 percent safer than any other seat in the vehicle,” said Dietrich Jehle, MD, a University of Buffalo associate professor of emergency medicine who was the lead author on the study.
The University of Buffalo study also found that passengers in the back seats who are wearing seat belts have a much lower fatality rate than those who are not wearing seat belts.
If You’ve Been Injured in an Automobile Accident
A car crash can be a traumatic event that can have long-lasting physical and financial effects. Have you been injured or has a loved one has been killed in a car crash that was someone else’s fault? If so, you may be entitled to compensation under Illinois personal injury laws. Chicago personal injury lawyers can help you try to negotiate a settlement with the party at fault in your crash or, if settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, file a lawsuit on your behalf and vigorously advocate for you during trial.
Under Illinois’s personal injury laws, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, if you are suing a city or county government agency in connection with your claim, that deadline is shortened to one year. If you’re suing the state of Illinois, your Chicago personal injury lawyers will have to file a formal claim with the agency within a year of your accident and must then file the lawsuit before the two-year mark.
If your lawsuit is successful, you’ll be able to recover damages, or compensation for your injuries. This money is intended to pay for things such as:
- Past, present and future doctors’ bills related to your injuries
- Other medical expenses, such as the cost of prescription medicine, a wheelchair and transportation to and from doctors’ appointments
- Lost wages if you’re unable to work while hospitalized or at doctors’ appointments
- The cost of hiring aides to assist you with tasks and chores you’re unable to perform as a result of your accident, including, for example, home health aides, a cleaning person or someone to mow your lawn
- The cost of any property that was damaged or destroyed in the accident, including repairs to your car or replacement of clothing and other items
- Pain and suffering
When calculating damages, Illinois follows what is known as a modified comparative fault rule. The judge or jury hearing your case will attempt to determine whether you share any responsibility for your accident, and if you bear some of that responsibility, how much are you at fault? If you are more than 0 percent at fault, but less than 50 percent at fault, any damages you receive will be reduced in direct proportion to your share of the blame. However, if you are at least 50 percent responsible, you’ll be unable to recover any money.