The National Security Council estimates that car wrecks in 2020 caused more than 42,000 fatalities. Whether a driver, passenger, bike rider, or walker, those who share the roads also share the risk of accidents. Collisions occur due to any number of factors, and often car wrecks result in serious injuries or death for those involved.
2020 Sees an Increase in Traffic Deaths
Compared to the 2019 reports, the NSC suggests more people died in 2020 due to motor vehicle accidents. The 2020 traffic fatality estimates indicate an 8% increase from the prior year. The increase marks an unfortunate end to more than 15 years of reductions in the number of auto collision deaths. The increasing trend began during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and early estimates suggest it will hold in 2021.
Common Causes of Fatal Car Crashes
Several factors frequently contribute to deadly automobile wrecks. Some of the most common of these include speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, aggressive or reckless driving, inclement weather, and vehicle defects. People’s risk of dying in motor vehicle collisions doubles for every 10 mph of increased speed. For example, drivers who increase their speed from 60 mph to 80 mph have a four-times greater risk of involvement in a fatal accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that alcohol contributes to about one-third of all fatal traffic crashes.
While some factors, such as weather-related hazards, are unavoidable, others result from drivers’ behaviors. In these cases, the families of crash victims may seek guidance from an accident attorney and consider pursuing compensation.
Compensation for Accident-Related Expenses
When other drivers cause collisions, options may exist for those injured or the families of those killed to work with a car crash lawyer to obtain compensation for their injury-associated losses. Such damages may include the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning potential, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and funerary costs.
Many states do not cap the economic damages that people can recover in fatal auto accident claims. However, several limit the non-economic damages that victims or their families may obtain. Most states impose a statute of limitations on such claims, requiring people to take action within a specified time period or potentially forfeit their right to legal action.
Safety Tips for Drivers
Drivers cannot eliminate all the risks that come with driving and sharing the road with others. However, taking certain precautions may help them reduce the danger – protecting themselves, their passengers, and others. Easy steps people can take to help avoid crashing include the following:
- Do not drink and drive
- Pay attention to the surroundings
- Maintain a safe speed for the road and the conditions
- Eliminate distractions as much as possible
- Practice alert, safe driving
- Do not rely on other motorists to follow the laws, signals, and signs
The loss of a loved one in a motor vehicle accident may have a profound effect on families. While compensation cannot bring back those they lost, pursuing options to recover damages may provide them much-needed support as they grieve and adjust to life without their family members.