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Which Cars Have the Most Injury Claims?

Craig McClellan

Do you drive a small car? We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the smaller your vehicle, the better chance you have of being injured in a car accident.

At least that's what data recently compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) suggests. The study examined the rate of insurance claims and corresponding injury and crash data in order to come up with a list of the most dangerous cars on the market. The research found that vehicles with the highest injury claims tended to some of the smaller cars.

The Toyota Yaris topped the list. For every 1,000 Yaris's insured, 28.5 claims were filed. Close behind it came a small crossover vehicle, the Suzuki SX4 with 26.6 claims per 1,000. Others that tended to have higher injury claims included: Chevrolet Aveo, Mitsubishi Galant, Kia Rio, Nissan's Versa and Sentra, Hyundai Accent and the Dodge Avenger.

Auto makers with cars on the top 10 "most dangerous" list quickly came to the defense of their vehicles. A spokesman from Toyota immediately noted that the Yaris was actually listed as one of the top safety picks on the road by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. And Nissan noted that two of their models making the list have strong crash protection and safety features.

But the HLDI was quick to note that this study was not about the crash testing, and looking at actual car crashes that caused injuries. Institute Senior Vice President Kim Hazelbaker said, "In most crash tests, the advantage of greater size and weight is masked by using a fixed barrier [in a test]. As a result, crash test results are comparable only among similar vehicles."

The bottom line seems to be that larger, heavier vehicles on the road tend to generally do a better job of protecting occupants than smaller and lighter cars.

While 28.5 for every 1,000 cars may not seem all that high, compare that number to the lowest in the study: only 4.5 injury claims per 1,000 Porsche 911. Now, granted, perhaps it is not a case that that particular Porsche model is safer, but rather that Porsche 911 owners practice safer driving habits and thus are less likely to be in a car accident. But that particular data is outside of the scope of this study.

Los Angeles Times, " Toyota Yaris ranked worst among injury claims in insurance study," 9/21/12.