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New Study Analyzes Vehicle Price & Personal Injury Claims


It’s well known that expensive vehicles come equipped with far more bells and whistles than your average affordable consumer car. Luxuries and status symbols aside, however, the price of a vehicle could actually provide additional benefits. According to a new study from the University of Buffalo, larger and more expensive vehicles are associated far less frequently with personal injury claims than smaller, cheaper cars.

Here are some details from the study:

  • Researchers at the University of Buffalo focused on data analysis of personal injury auto accident claims and paid particular attention to claim rates in correlation to smaller, cheaper cars or heavier, more expensive vehicles.
  • The study reviewed injury claim data from 17 states with no-fault insurance and noted the frequency of claims for specific vehicles (360 models from 2010-12).
  • Researchers found SUVs and large trucks had the lowest frequency of personal injury claims and that smaller, cheaper vehicles had higher frequency rates of personal injury claims.
  • According to the study, every additional $10,000 spent on a vehicle reduces injuries by close to 12%. Every 1,000 lb. increase in vehicle weight also make vehicles 19% safer.

The study provides a unique picture of vehicle safety by departing from typical auto safety studies in the U.S., including five-star safety ratings, to provide a more accurate reflection of the level of and lack of danger in vehicles. Five-star crash ratings – which are used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are based on tests that – while potentially accurate – are not reflective of real-life circumstances involving multiple cars.

For example, the risk of serious injury substantially increases when a smaller vehicle hits a larger moving car and abruptly changes velocity. SUVs and larger vehicles may also override smaller cars, which can create more severe vehicle damage and injuries.

Although the study may cause consumer concerns, safety experts have noted that many advanced safety features – including camera and sensor-based alert systems and knee airbags – are becoming standard in inexpensive cars. The study, while still new, could be useful for consumers in the market for safe vehicles.

Shook & Stone has helped thousands of injured victims and families after they were involved in auto accidents in Las Vegas and other areas of Nevada. Our accident attorneys know the difficulties victims and their loved ones face following these incidents, and are available to help anyone who would like to learn more about their rights and the personal injury claim process.


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