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How Many People Die in Car Accidents Every Year - morgan and morgan lawyers
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How Many People Die in Car Accidents Every Year?

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How Many People Die in Car Accidents Every Year?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), around 36,000 individuals died in traffic accidents annually in the last few years. However, preliminary figures show a dramatic increase in annual deaths in 2020, with an estimated 42,060 traffic fatalities. When examining how many people die in car accidents each year, it is important to note that the families of victims could have legal recourse.

When a loved one passes away in a car accident, the survivors not only experience heartbreak and emotional turmoil but could also face extreme financial hardship. If someone else is legally responsible for your loved one’s accident and death, you could qualify for compensation. Morgan & Morgan’s tenacious and compassionate attorneys want to help you. Contact us today for a free case review to learn about your legal rights.

Who Is Most at Risk of Dying in a Traffic Accident?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traffic accidents are a leading cause of death for those aged between one and 54 years in the US. The National Safety Council (NSC) calculated the risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash as one in 107. The estimated cost to society from traffic fatalities and injuries totaled $474 billion in 2020 alone.

When excluding health reasons, dying from a car crash is the third leading cause of death, behind only suicide and dying from an opioid overdose. While we are all at risk of getting injured or dying in a car accident, some factors can increase or lower that risk, such as age or driving habits. 

The Driver’s Age

A driver’s age predicts their risk of dying in a car accident. Teenage drivers tend to have a much higher risk of being involved in a fatal car accident. The risk then decreases until drivers are much older. Individuals over 75 years of age have a higher risk of dying in a car accident. 

The Driver’s Gender

The gender of the driver also plays an important role in traffic accident death risks. Male drivers are much more likely to die in a car crash compared to females. 

Driving Behavior

Driving habits and behavior are crucial for road safety. Most accidents are caused by driver error or risky driving behaviors, which include: 

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Generally driving dangerously
  • Failure to yield
  • Ignoring traffic signals and signs

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs

Many fatal accidents involve alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people die every day on US roads due to a drunk driver. 

Amount of Driving

The more miles you put on the clock, the more your risk of being involved in a fatal accident rises. Consequently, those who commute great distances by car every day are at a higher risk than those who work from home and only use their car occasionally. Those most at risk can include commuters, rideshare drivers, delivery drivers, and others who drive as part of their job duties. 

Fatalities Are More Likely in Certain Types of Crashes

When looking at how many people die in car accidents every year, it becomes clear that some accidents produce more fatalities than others. For example, most rear-end accidents occurring in urban areas at a low speed typically cause little more than property damage and inconvenience. However, the following accident types can have a higher probability of involving fatalities:

  • Single car accidents
  • Rollovers
  • Head-on crashes
  • Accidents involving large trucks
  • Multi-vehicle pileups 
  • T-bone accidents

Common Fatal Car Crash Injuries

Serious car crashes can cause catastrophic injuries for car occupants. Some of the more common accident injuries that could lead to fatalities include: 

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic brain injuries, typically caused by trauma in an accident, can be mild or severe. A severe TBI can lead to the brain shutting down and cause unconsciousness, coma, and death of the individual affected. 

Spinal Cord Damage

The impact of a severe car crash can lead to spinal cord injury or severance. Significant damage to the spinal cord, involving nerve endings, could paralyze an individual for life. A completely severed spinal cord could have fatal consequences. 

Internal Injuries

Internal organ injuries or internal bleeding can be difficult to diagnose. Therefore, internal injuries may not be identified immediately, increasing the potential for fatalities. 

Complicated Fractures 

In a high-impact car accident, fractures are a common injury. While fractures are not normally life-threatening, they can cause fatal injuries occasionally. For example, a broken rib, normally a harmless injury, could puncture the heart, lungs, and other essential organs and require emergency treatment. 

While not all of these common car crash injuries are immediately fatal, they can shorten the life expectancy of car crash victims. Moreover, medical costs for serious car crash injuries can be astronomical and lifelong. If your loved one was badly injured in a car accident or passed away from their injuries, a lawyer from our firm could help you recover compensation.

What to Do if Your Loved One Passed Away in a Car Accident

Losing a loved one in a serious car accident is a huge shock for the whole family. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by the emotional impact and the formalities that arise after a loved one’s death. However, taking action to protect your legal rights can be important for rebuilding your life without your loved one. Consider taking the following steps:

Keep Records of Accident-Related Costs

Car accidents can be hugely expensive. Victims of crashes and their families could be faced with various expenses and monetary losses such as: 

  • Vehicle damage
  • Pre-death medical treatment costs
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of income from the deceased

Since you could have legal recourse and pursue compensation, ensure to record your expenses carefully. Keeping the relevant receipts and statements can prove crucial for obtaining what you deserve.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

If your loved one died in a car accident, getting legal advice as soon as possible can be vital for protecting your rights. A car accident attorney can evaluate your case and provide invaluable advice on your next best steps in a free consultation. If you are going forward with legal action, they can help progress your case by:

  • Investigating the crash to establish the facts and fault 
  • Identify all at-fault parties in the accident
  • Calculate your damages and estimate the worth of your case 
  • Communicate and negotiate with the insurance company
  • Represent you aggressively in court 

Our car accident lawyers can manage your case from beginning to end, allowing you to grieve with your family during this challenging time. While nothing can turn back the time and bring back your loved one, our attorneys can fight for the financial reward you need to go on with your life after a tragic loss.

You Could Have a Wrongful Death Case

When a loved one passes away due to a car accident and another driver is at-fault for the accident, you could pursue a wrongful death claim. Drivers are, by law, obligated to act with reasonable care when operating a vehicle. A driver who got behind the wheel drunk or generally drove recklessly when causing your relative’s death could be responsible for your financial losses. One of our wrongful death lawyers can determine whether you have a case and how to proceed with recovering your due.

Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases

The wrongful death of a loved one can cause financial chaos and an uncertain future for the entire family. Generally, the family members of a deceased car accident victim could recover economic, non-economic, and punitive damages, depending on their case.  

Economic Damages

Economic damages are designed to compensate the surviving family members for their financial losses due to the death of their loved one and can include: 

  • All healthcare costs prior to death 
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income from the deceased
  • Loss of benefits such as health insurance and pension 
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of goods and services from the decedent

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages do not come with receipts or dollar amounts as they relate to intangible losses such as emotional distress felt by the surviving family members. Non-economic damages you could receive with a wrongful death lawsuit could include: 

  • Emotional pain and suffering felt by the survivors
  • Loss of care and guidance from the deceased
  • Loss of companionship

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are relatively rare and usually awarded as punishment by a court if the defendant acted particularly egregiously or recklessly.

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How Many People Die in Car Accidents Every Year

  • When Should I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

    Your state laws typically determine how long you have for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Time limits can range from one year to four years or more. It is crucial to note that filing a lawsuit after the statute has passed could prevent you from recovering compensation.

    Some rare exceptions could extend the statute, for example, if the cause of death was not linked to the accident until a later time. However, survivors should seek legal advice as soon as possible. If your loved one passed away due to a car accident recently, consider speaking to our wrongful death attorneys to determine the best timing for filing your lawsuit. 

  • How Much Is a Wrongful Death Case Worth? 

    Determining the worth of a wrongful death case can be complicated. Unlike in personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff is deceased, so compensation is generally calculated slightly differently. Facts that will be taken into account include: 

    • The age of the decedent
    • The decedent’s future earning capacity had they survived
    • Potential inheritance
    • Services and benefits the deceased would have provided
    • The pain and suffering of close family members
    • Medical costs before death

    Since the amount of your wrongful death compensation depends on various factors, it can be challenging to generalize the value of a case. However, a wrongful death attorney can give you an idea of the potential value of your claim after assessing your particular case. 

  • Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

    Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally reserved to the deceased person’s estate representative or close family members. However, the requirements for filing such a lawsuit differ from one state to another. In all states, immediate family members such as spouses or children could file wrongful death lawsuits and recover compensation. 

    In some states, life partners or those financially dependent on the deceased also have the right to take legal action and seek damages. More distant family members such as siblings and grandparents could also bring wrongful death lawsuits. Persons who have suffered financially due to the victim’s passing may also, in some cases, bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the rules for filing a wrongful death lawsuit are complex, consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney can provide clarity. 

  • What Does a Morgan & Morgan Wrongful Death Lawyer Do?

    Our wrongful death lawyers are compassionate and caring professionals who have a track record of successfully litigating wrongful death cases. They can help you with all aspects of your case and provide valuable advice on dealing with paperwork and formalities after a close relative’s death. 

    Most importantly, our wrongful death lawyers will work tirelessly to protect your legal rights and fight strongly for the settlement you need. They can gather the relevant evidence required to prove your claim and build a case against the responsible party. Your attorney can also handle all communication with an insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.

    During this difficult time, our compassionate wrongful death attorneys can be a shoulder to lean on and help you navigate the complex legal issues of filing a wrongful death lawsuit.  

  • Get Help Today  

    Unfortunately, the recent figures of how many people die in car accidents every year are nothing short of shocking and indicate a marked increase in reckless and careless driving. If your loved one passed away due to another’s fault, you do not have to battle alone to get what you deserve. Morgan & Morgan can be here for you and leave no stone unturned in fighting for justice and compensation. 

    Our fee is always free unless and until we win and you recover damages. Contact us now to find out for free if we could help you. 

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Last updated on Jun 08, 2023

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