Are Car Safety Ratings Important in Car Accident Cases?

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When you shop for a new car, the safety ratings of the vehicles may be of greater or lesser importance to you.  Some people will only buy the safest car in the class they are considering purchasing.  Others focus more on other issues like price, reliability, or sheer sexiness.  In the long run, how do these safety ratings affect you and your vehicle in an accident case?  Overall, sadly, not very much.

What Does a Safety Rating Really Rate:

In safety rating tests, manufacturers and the government subject vehicles of various types to collision tests at different speeds and from multiple directions to determine how safe that vehicle will be, on average, in those conditions.  The cars tested are usually brand new and don’t have any known defects.  However, by the time you have your accident, your vehicle may be five years old, have 225,379 miles on it, and have bad brakes.  Because of the specificity of your car and your accident versus the generality of the safety rating tests, they are not often relevant to the outcome of car accident cases.

The nine safest cars of all time never experienced a vehicle death.  Would that affect a car injury settlement if one of those cars ran a red light and t-boned another vehicle killing all the occupants?  Of course not.

By the way, the nine safest vehicles–with zero driver deaths–were:

  • Audi A4 4WD
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Kia Sorento 2WD
  • Lexus RX 350 4WD
  • Mercedes-Benz GL-Class 4WD
  • Subaru Legacy 4WD
  • Toyota Highlander hybrid 4WD
  • Toyota Sequoia 4WD
  • Volvo XC90 4WD

The rating tests also test the crash avoidance technology installed on your car.  While it might seem intuitive that this equipment and the resulting ratings would improve your accident settlement, such thinking is not quite on the money.  Again, this thought process assumes that all the accident avoidance equipment in your car functions as it was designed to perform and do what it was intended to do. In court, the issue in an accident is fault, not necessarily who has the safest car.

Your Car Insurance

Generally, if your car has a higher safety rating, it may also have a lower car insurance premium.  Of course, your driving record has a much greater impact on your premiums than your vehicle’s safety rating, with a single ticket adding as much as 40% to your premiums.  But, the ratings can sometimes give you slightly lower premiums.  On the other hand, some companies don’t consider these ratings, and they have no impact on your premiums.

What About in an Accident?

Generally, car safety tests provide a guide for how your car will perform under certain very specific accident conditions, none of which may apply to your particular accident.  As little attention as insurance companies pay to the ratings in setting premiums, they are even less concerned about them in relation to settling cases.  Accident settlements are based on the specific facts and injuries of one particular case, not on the statistical averages which comprise the safety ratings.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Florida Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident, you should contact our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.



What damages are available after a car accident?

Florida law allows victims to recover for non-economic and economic damages. Damages commonly pursued after a car wreck include medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Do I need a lawyer after a car accident?

It’s a good idea to retain an attorney after a car wreck that resulted in injuries or substantial damage.

How long will my case take?

Car accident cases can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year to conclude. Cases where liability is clear and damages are not at issue tend to resolve much more quickly.


[Related Articles]: Car Accidents on Private Property – What You Need to Know

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