Saturday Facts and Opinion

A new idea that might or might not take: A Saturday fact and opinion post. Let me know in the comments what you think:

  • Fact: According to Jury Verdict Research, rear end car crashes or other obvious liability cases accounted for only 45 percent of auto cases adjudicated, with the remainder comprised of intersection collisions, lane changes, chain reaction, and parking lot scenarios. In other words, a lot of claims where there was a high probability of shared liability.
  • Opinion: A big mistake insurance companies make – bless them – is contesting liability in personal injury cases where it is simply ridiculous to do so. Plaintiff’s lawyer only have so many good themes. One theme that resonates with juries is the failure to take responsibility. Defense lawyers have a hard time giving up that theoretical possibility of a defense verdict. But, their failure to do so inflates juries and inflates damages.
  • Fact: The Highway Loss Data Institute found that personal injuy claims were filed 28.5 times for every 1,000 Yaris 2009-2011 vehicles the industry insured. Among the vehicles with the least number of personal injury claims was the Porsche 911, with the lowest rate of 4.5 claims per 1,000 vehicles.
  • Opinion: All things being equal, a big car better protects occupants than a smaller, lighter one. Big cars get inferior gas mileage to small cars. We are forcing car manufacturers to make smaller cars to save the environment, help us gain energy independence, and so forth. But achieving those goals is going to cost some human lives. I’m not saying we should lower gas mileage requirements necessarily, but we should at least be talking honest about this issue. Where have you heard a serious debate on the costs of smaller cars? My kids’ piano teacher drives a smart car. I don’t know how you survive a fender bender in one of those cars.
  • Fact: The fatality rate for truck drivers in motor vehicle accidents is 29.8 per 100,000 workers per year. A little context… the fatality rate for a stuntman is 21.8 per 100,000 workers; for law enforcement, the death rate is 2.5 per 1,000 workers.
  • Opinion: The risk to truck drivers really puts into context the risk for the rest of us, because the vast majority of wrongful death trucking accident cases that we handle involve a fatality to the passenger vehicle in the crash, not the truck driver.
  • Fact: The CDC tells us that in 2010, approximately 2,700 teens between 16–19 were killed. Another 282,000 were treated and released from the ER for car accident related injuries. Another fact: Young people, ages 15-24, represent only 14% of the U.S. population but make up 30% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males, and 28% of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.
  • Opinion: Kids not being able to drive is a huge hassle for parents and a real joy kill for teenagers. But, we need to be looking at teenage deaths and decide if the pain of pushing back the driving age is worth less dead kids. (By the way I loaded the question, you know my vote.)
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