This paper focuses on the bending deformation experienced by metallic materials and its characterization during the crash analysis of ship structures. These analyses are conducted with plane stress shell elements for computational reasons. The inherent nature of through thickness plane stress poses restrictions on how the bending associated stress and strain distribution are resolved. Namely, fracture criteria used in crash analysis account bending damage accumulation differently. Most criteria do not specifically address the issue as element erosion is activated once all through thickness integration points have reached the predefined failure condition. However, when elements are bent, material layers (top and bottom) display strong variations in mechanical field variables that are commonly used to control element deletion. Therefore, the focus of current analyses is to show how different fracture criteria account bending deformation and how sensitive are the results depending on the chosen element size.