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Odds of Being Killed in a Car Crash

While the odds of being killed in a car crash can vary according to location, driving habits, age, and gender, car accident fatalities seem to be increasing rapidly in recent years. Figures from 2021 show a 16-year high in traffic accident fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Relatives of loved ones killed in accidents can see their entire lives turned upside down. In addition to the deep sense of loss they are experiencing, many face financial turmoil and an uncertain future. Morgan & Morgan knows that nothing can bring back your loved one or heal the heartbreak you feel after losing a relative. However, you could be entitled to compensation from the responsible party.

Morgan & Morgan’s compassionate car accident lawyers can assess your case and guide you through the legal process. Contact us now to learn about your legal rights in a free case review.

What Are the Odds of Being Killed in a Car Crash?

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the lifetime odds of getting killed in a motor vehicle accident in the United States is one in 101. However, odds vary depending on various factors, including age, gender, and location.

Gender and Age

Men are more likely to die in car crashes than women. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 72 percent of all car crash deaths in 2020 were men. The IIHS says that men not only drive more miles than women but are also more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, such as:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Speeding
  • Failure to use seatbelts

Additionally, young drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 have an even higher risk of being involved in fatal car crashes.


Your location can increase the odds of being killed in a car crash. Rural areas have a higher rate of car crash deaths than urban areas. Rural areas generally have higher speed limits, fewer safety features, and longer response times for emergency services.

Moreover, some states see more car crashes than others. According to the IIHS, the states with the highest number of fatal car accidents in 2020 were California, Texas, and Florida, with over 3,000 crash fatalities each.

Amount of Driving

Drivers putting a lot of miles on the clock are more likely to die in accidents than others. Those particularly at risk of getting hurt or dying in a car crash include:

  • Delivery drivers
  • Taxi drivers
  • Commuters
  • Rideshare drivers

Preventing Fatal Accidents

While the odds of being killed in a car crash may be concerning, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a fatal accident, such as:

  • Wearing a seatbelt
  • Avoiding distracted driving
  • Driving defensively
  • Following traffic laws

Common Causes of Fatal Car Crashes

Deadly crashes happen more often than we would like to think. According to the NHTSA, almost 43,000 individuals died in car crashes in 2021. While there are many reasons why accidents happen, careless and reckless driving behaviors are often responsible.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving includes anything that takes s driver’s eyes, hands, or attention away from the road, such as:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Using in-car technology
  • Talking to other passengers

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is another major cause of fatal car accidents. According to the NHTSA, alcohol-impaired driving caused 11,652 deaths in 2020. If someone caused your injury or the death of a loved one due to drunk driving, Morgan & Morgan’s car accident lawyers could help you recover compensation.


Speeding is a major cause of car accidents. When you drive above the speed limit, you have less time to react to changes in the road or other drivers. Moreover, a crash’s impact can be catastrophic at high speed.

Dangerous Driving

Reckless or aggressive driving and violating traffic laws are common causes of fatal car accidents. Dangerous driving can include:

  • Running red lights
  • Following too closely
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Failure to yield

Poor Weather and Road Conditions

Poor weather conditions can also lead to fatal car accidents. Rain, snow, and ice can make roads slippery and reduce visibility. A poorly constructed or badly maintained road can also contribute to deadly accidents.

The families of those killed in accidents due to poor road maintenance could have a compensation claim against a local government. Let a car accident lawyer at Morgan & Morgan determine your options for recovering compensation.

Vehicle Defects

Vehicle defects, such as malfunctioning steering, brakes, or airbags, can increase the odds of being killed in a car crash. In some cases, it is possible to pursue a legal claim against those responsible for vehicle defects, such as:

  • The car manufacturer
  • The dealership
  • A repair shop

Fatal Car Accident Injuries

Catastrophic accidents can cause deaths at the accident scene. However, victims can also suffer from life-threatening injuries that could lead to them passing away days, weeks, or even months after a collision. Common accident injuries leading to fatalities include but are not limited to:

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Traumatic brain injuries typically happen when the head strikes an object or when there is a sudden jolt to the brain. The symptoms of a TBI can range from mild to severe and can be life-threatening.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur when the spinal cord is damaged or severed. Such injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis. Moreover, the risk of dying from a severe spinal cord injury is generally high in the first year of the injury.  

Internal Injuries

Internal injuries can be fatal and are often hard to detect immediately. They occur when the internal organs are damaged during impact, leading to internal bleeding, shock, and organ failure.

Burn Injuries

Burn injuries can occur when a car catches fire during an accident. These injuries can be painful and can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement. Deaths can occur due to burn injury complications, such as:

  • Respiratory problems
  • Shock
  • Sepsis
  • Organ failure


Limbs may be severed during a catastrophic accident, leading to considerable blood loss and, potentially, death. Moreover, severely injured accident victims may require limb amputations after an accident. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), five-year mortality rates in amputation patients are high, especially in major amputations.

It is important to note that even if your loved one did not die immediately in or after an accident, you could still file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party, provided your relative passed away from accident-related injuries. Morgan & Morgan’s car accident lawyers are here to guide you through the legal process and help you recover compensation from the responsible party.

Wrongful Death Claim After Fatal Car Crash

If your loved one died due to another party’s fault, such as another driver, you could pursue a wrongful death claim and receive damages.

Damages Available for Wrongful Death

When a loved one dies suddenly and unexpectedly, a family often experiences financial chaos. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit could help family members avert financial hardship and help them move forward with their lives. Generally, you could recover various damages, such as:  

  • Medical expenses before death
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of income and benefits from the decedent
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of services, such as childcare, yard work, etc.
  • Survivor’s emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship (spouse)
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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • How Can a Morgan & Morgan Car Accident Lawyer Help After a Fatal Crash?

    If you have lost a loved one in a collision, our car accident lawyers can help you in several ways.

    Investigate and Collect Evidence

    An experienced car accident lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can help investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one's death, including the cause of the accident, the other driver's negligence, and other factors that may have contributed to the crash. We can gather and preserve important evidence, such as:

    • Police reports
    • Witness statements
    • Medical records

    File an Insurance Claim

    Getting what you deserve can be challenging, especially in a fatal crash with significant damages and losses. A Morgan & Morgan car accident lawyer could help you file a claim with the insurance company to obtain fair compensation. They can help you recover damages for your loss, including funeral expenses, medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering.

    File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

    If someone else's negligence or recklessness caused the crash, an attorney at our firm could file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. We can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and advocate on your behalf in court.

    Offer Emotional Support

    Our caring attorneys can provide emotional support during this challenging and upsetting time. Losing a loved one in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, and it is natural to feel overwhelmed. We can be here for you and provide guidance and support as you navigate the legal process.

  • How Much Is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?

    The worth of a wrongful death claim depends on the case’s facts and can be complicated to calculate. Factors determining the value of a claim can include:

    • The age and overall health of the victim
    • Healthcare expenses before death
    • The lost income and benefits from the decedent
    • Their future earning capacity had they survived
    • The pain and anguish experienced by the surviving family members

    Since the worth of a wrongful death claim depends on the circumstances of your case, contact a car accident lawyer at Morgan & Morgan, who can determine the value of your specific wrongful death claim.

  • What Are the Most Dangerous Types of Car Accidents?

    Your odds of being killed in a car crash can also depend on the type of accident you are involved in. Some types of car crashes are more dangerous and cause more traffic fatalities than others.

    Head-On Collisions

    According to the National Safety Council (NSC), head-on collisions caused around 5,000 fatalities in 2020, which makes them one of the deadliest accident types. One of the leading causes of car accident deaths is head-on collisions. When two vehicles collide head-on, the impact can be severe, leading to significant damage to both cars and their occupants, who may suffer life-threatening injuries.

    Side-Impact Accidents

    Side-impact collisions are also responsible for a significant number of fatal car accidents. These accidents occur when one vehicle strikes the side of another vehicle. They are often referred to as "T-bone" accidents due to the shape of the vehicles after the impact. Side-impact crashes are particularly dangerous because vehicle occupants struck on the side have less protection than those in other types of accidents.

    Running red lights or stop lights and other types of negligent driving behaviors can cause tragic side-impact accidents. If someone else’s recklessness caused the death of your loved one, you could be entitled to compensation. Morgan & Morgan’s dedicated and compassionate car accident lawyers can help you move forward with a claim.

    Rollover Crashes

    Rollover crashes are typically severe and responsible for many traffic accident fatalities. When a vehicle rolls over, occupants may get thrown from the car and suffer severe injuries, especially if they are not wearing seat belts. Rollover accidents can be caused by speeding, driving under the influence, or poor road conditions. Larger vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, are more likely to roll over.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan Today

    Unfortunately, reckless and careless driving, and with it, the odds of being killed in a car crash seem to be on the increase. However, if you were involved in a fatal crash or your loved one died in an accident, you could have legal recourse and receive damages. Our fee is free until we win and recover compensation. Contact us now to find out more with a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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