Statistics show women are more likely to be injured, die in motor vehicle crashes, and auto designs may be to blame

October 13, 2021 | 2:08 pm


10,000 women die in car crashes each year because of bad auto design.

That’s the headline from a new report published in Fast Company, which highlights the fact that women are 72% more likely to be injured, and 17% more likely to die in a car crash than men. The report also reveals that crash tests by government agencies are only performed using a male driver, and there is no mandated test that simulates a female driver.

In all, 10,420 women died from motor vehicle crashes in 2019, and over 1 million suffered injuries.

“None of this is surprising to car manufacturers or the government agency responsible for car safety standards, both of which have known these statistics for decades,” the author writes. “While bias plagues many of our nation’s institutions, perhaps none are as shocking as a government- and industry-sanctioned practice that protects men and kills or seriously injures the other 50% of the population. The government’s long-acknowledged negligence bears the responsibility, while women and their families carry the consequences.”

The report continues: “The sisterhood of vehicle-crash victims is farther reaching than we realized. Mothers and daughters are bonded not by stories and laughs, but by traumatic brain injuries, permanent scars, and moments of horror sealed into memory.”

 

TESTING & DESIGN

The National Highway Safety Transportation Association (NHSTA) is the nation’s safety rating agency, which rates every manufactured car in our country. The agency recreates impacts of frontal, rollover, side, and side pole crashes.

But according to the Fast Company’s report, for tests with women in the passenger seat, the dummy used to represent women is a scaled down male model that lacks anything else that distinguishes between sexes, including bone densities, muscle structures, and abdominal and chest differences. Perhaps this is the reason women are 22% more likely to suffer a head injury than men, and while reducing 70% of whiplash in men. For women, the seatbelts and airbags that protect men can actually cause additional injury, leaving women with “permanent scars from the seatbelts we were raised to believe would save our lives, but which also nearly ended them.”

Among other reasons women are at a greater risk to suffer injuries and deaths, according to the author:

  • Men tend to drive smaller, lighter vehicles, while men gravitate toward bigger cars and trucks.
  • Heavy vehicles are also a greater threat to pedestrians than small cars, and pedestrians are more likely to be women or people of color.
  • Women are often excluded from critical design decisions. The people sitting around the table in most transportation, engineering, and automotive conversations are usually men.

 

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE

To start, the country’s INVEST in America Act would require updated, equitable dummy crash testing. The Senate version of this same infrastructure bill does not include this, however. In addition, more women should be included in production design, experts agree.

“This is the moment to make this historic and needed change in vehicle safety,” the author writes. “We will no longer be ignored, left out, and endangered. It is time for our government to stand up for the most vulnerable.”

———

If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Stiles by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at chainlaw.com.

Sexual harassment in the workplace and the #MeToo Movement

March 14, 2018 | 9:25 am


Chain | Cohn | Stiles workers’ compensation* attorney Beatriz Trejo recently made a presentation in front of the Kern County Paralegal Association focused on ethical obligations to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, and the #MeToo Movement. Below is a synopsis of that “Minimum Continuing Legal Education” presentation. 

———

* Please note: Chain | Cohn | Stiles is no longer accepting wrongful termination and sexual harassment cases *

Preventing sexual harassment in the workplace is an ethical obligation of all employees, in addition to a serious legal issue.

More recently, we have seen uprising of people who have gone public with their stories of sexual harassment, assault and abuse, and systemic sexism. The “Me Too” hashtag campaign has spread virally to denounce sexual assault and harassment, and millions have used the hashtag to come forward with their own experiences.

Below is a timeline of legal and societal landmarks that led to our current state:

  • 1964: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin. It is commonly referred to as “Title VII,” because that’s the part of the act that covers employment. Title VII covers both men and women, but its original intent was to protect women in the workplace. This remains its main emphasis today.
  • 1986: In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court rules that sexual harassment can be sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. The case of Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson ruled that speech in itself can create a hostile environment, which violates the law.
  • 1991: The Civil Rights Act of 1991 is passed. Congress modifies Title VII to add more protection against discrimination in the workplace. Among other things, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 allows harassment and discrimination plaintiffs the right to a jury trial in federal court. It also gives plaintiffs the right to collect compensatory and punitive damages for the first time, subject to a cap based on the size of the employer.
  • 1993: Harris v. Forklift Systems is handed down. Here the plaintiff worked as a manager of a company that rented heavy equipment to construction companies. Forklift’s president continually made the plaintiff the target of comments such as, “You’re a woman, what do you know?,” and, “We need a man as the rental manager.”
  • 2004: Facebook is launched.
  • 2006: Tarana Burke uses the term “Me Too” to raise awareness of the pervasiveness of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment.
  • 2006: Twitter is launched.
  • October 2017: Actress Ashley Judd accuses media mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. Actress Alissa Milano tweets, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘Me Too’ as a reply to this tweet.” Half a million people responded to the tweet in 24 hours. After the tweet, Facebook reported 12 million posts and comments regarding #MeToo. Within 24 hours 45 percent of all U.S. Facebook users knew someone who had posted #MeToo. The stories posted recounted stories in the entertainment industry, sports, politics, military, and law.
  • December 2017: The #MeToo movement “Silence Breakers” are named 2017’s “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine.

Today, we all continue to be protected against harassment under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules, which state:

Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).

Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

Still, harassment continues. In fact, an October 2017 poll by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found the following:

  • 48 percent of women stated that they have received an unwelcome sexual advance or other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature at work.
  • 41 percent of men stated that they have observed inappropriate sexual conduct directed to women at work.
  • 63 percent of Americans in October 1991 believed sexual harassment occurred in most workplaces.
  • 66 percent of Americans in October 2017 believe sexual harassment occurs in most workplaces.

But legal remedies to fight against harassment continue to exist as well. Claims may be filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the courts. And if the law is violated, damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs may be ordered.

———

If you or a someone you know needs assistance with a potential accident, injury or workers’ compensation case, it’s important to contact an attorney, call the lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Stiles for a free consultation at 661-323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.

To learn more about workers’ compensation associate attorney Beatriz Trejo, click here.

———

*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Recognizing women in law during Women’s History Month

March 30, 2016 | 9:01 am


As March’s Women’s History Month comes to a close, Chain | Cohn | Stiles commemorates the achievements and contributions of women in United States history.

The theme of this year’s Women’s History Month is “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government.” And since this theme includes those women working in legal fields, Chain | Cohn | Stiles wished to recognize those women, specifically those at the Bakersfield-based law firm fighting for justice for injury, accident and crime victims.

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch this month delivered remarks at the U.S. Department of Justice Women’s History Month Celebration. In her statement, Lynch acknowledged the contributions of women who serve as “prosecutors and paralegals, trial attorneys and special agents, spokespeople and support staff.”

” … Women are essential to our ongoing efforts to protect the rights and well-being of every American,” Lynch said.

Still, she said, “there is a great deal of work still left to be done.” Women remain underrepresented in government and business in the United States, and continue to face a number of uniquely difficult challenges, she said.

“More than ever, we are dedicated to ensuring that our nation’s promises of freedom, opportunity and justice for all are delivered equally across gender lines.”

At Chain | Cohn | Stiles, 75 percent of the staff are women, including attorneys Beatriz Trejo and Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller. Other women in the office work as paralegals, legal assistants, file clerks and receptionists. It’s important for the law firm to adequately represent clients.

Beatriz Trejo is an associate in the law firm’s workers’ compensation* department, and is fluent in Spanish. Associate Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller works in Chain | Cohn | Stiles personal injury department.

Recently, a great moment was captured in front of the Kern County Superior Court when nearly 100 local women attorneys and other law officials — including Chain | Cohn | Stiles lawyers Beatriz Trejo and Felicia Schoepfer-Altmiller — took part in a group photo for Women’s History Month. (Photo Credit: Alekxia Torres Stallings)

Also included in the group shot were Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, retired judge Sharon Mettler, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Thurston, and Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green. For media coverage of this occasion, click here for the KGET-17 (NBC) news video.

Women’s History Month originated as a national celebration in 1981 to pay tribute “to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society,” according to the Women’s History Month website.

———

*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.