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Mike Bryant
Mike Bryant
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What do Bumpers Really Do?

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It's not usual to hear from an adjuster or a defense attorney arguments about the amount of property damage a car has. There are insurance companies who from time to time decide that they won't pay a thing in low property damage cases and that every case will then have to go to trial. They do this usually to:

1) Save money and help their bottom line for awhile as they aren't paying anything out.

2) To get the group of lawyers who don't try cases to accept less on all cases.

3) To force down the overall value of cases.

4) Make it so lawyers don't want to take these cases and pick off the unrepresented.

But, it is clear that the property damage really has no affect on what happens with injuries. There are cars that look like a pile of iron where people walk away and many where the force passes right into the flesh and blood in even low speed impacts. There isn't a doctor out there who would diagnose people's injuries by looking at just the photographs of the car.

I found it interesting when I happened upon the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) bumper questions. In particular this question:

2) What is the purpose of bumpers?
The car bumper is designed to prevent or reduce physical damage to the front and rear ends of passenger motor vehicles in low-speed collisions. Automobile bumpers are not typically designed to be structural components that would significantly contribute to vehicle crashworthiness or occupant protection during front or rear collisions. It is not a safety feature intended to prevent or mitigate injury severity to occupants in the passenger cars. Bumpers are designed to protect the hood, trunk, grille, fuel, exhaust and cooling system as well as safety related equipment such as parking lights, headlamps and taillights in low speed collisions.

That is a very interesting disclosure. So the people who are looking at the bumpers and making sure they meet all of the regulations are not meant to actually protect the people inside? Sure, there is a lot of chrome there that doesn't hurt in a big collision, but the question is what does it do in a low speed collision? The science and the reality supports that position X much more than the made up information from the defense.