Every 16 Minutes, Somebody Dies on the Road in the United States
Although people tend to acknowledge car accidents are a fairly common occurrence in the United States, most do not realize just how frequently these crashes result in devastating harm. In fact, studies suggest that, on average, someone in the United States dies in a motor vehicle accident every 16 minutes. Even car accidents on the more minor end can drastically impact an individual’s life, causing excruciating pain and suffering, permanent damages, and extensive lost wages. This post takes a deeper dive into this topic of motor vehicle accidents to understand how they happen, the impacts they cause, and how motor vehicle accident victims can recover. Learn more from our car accident lawyers below.
Car Crash Statistics You Need to Know
There are almost six million car crashes in the United States every year. These accidents resulted in over 38,600 deaths in one recent year. In addition:
- Around three million people in the United States are harmed in a car crash every year.
- Almost two million motorists in vehicle accidents experience permanent injuries.
- More than half of all road traffic crashes occur among those aged 15 to 44 years old.
- Nearly 72 percent of car crashes resulted in property damage.
- More than nine people are killed nearly every day because of distracted driving.
- Rear-end accidents are the most frequently occurring car crashes, accounting for almost 29 percent of all traffic accidents.
- Tailgating is a factor in more than one-third of all road crashes.
- Certain driver-related factors such as fatigue, impairment, and human error were present in almost 90 percent of all car accidents.
- Aggressive driving causes approximately 66 percent of all traffic deaths.
- Around ten million or more collisions go unreported every year.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions
Although car accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, certain causes lead to these collisions more frequently than others. Some common causes of car accidents include:
Distracted driving is one of the top causes of vehicle accidents in the country, resulting in over 3,000 deaths every year. A distracted driver does not have their complete attention on the road because of other things that divert their attention from driving, such as texting, eating or drinking, playing with the radio, or any other task that takes their abilities and attention away from the task of safe driving.
Another major cause of traffic accidents is speeding. Speeding not only reduces the amount of time a motorist has to react to a dangerous situation to avoid a collision, but it also increases the stopping distance and reduces the ability of road safety structures such as guardrails to protect car occupants in a crash. In one year, speeding was a factor in 26 percent of all traffic deaths, killing on average over 25 people per day.
Any individual who drinks or takes drugs and gets behind the wheel puts everyone on the road in grave danger, as alcohol dulls the cognitive functions and senses they need to drive safely. Drunk driving slows reaction time and decision-making capabilities, which can lead to horrifying accidents.
Almost 40 percent of motor vehicle accidents occur at intersections. The primary reason for these types of crashes is the large amount of traffic that passes through intersections every day, and even though stop signs and traffic lights are typically installed at these locations to help guide motorists about when to stop and to let other drivers pass, drivers make mistakes or decide not to pay attention to these signals. Consequently, deadly accidents can result.
Reckless driving is an egregious traffic violation that involves driving a vehicle with a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of people and property. Reckless driving includes actions such as switching lanes too quickly, tailgating, road rage, racing other vehicles, passing on blind curves, and purposely failing to abide by cautionary measures.
While human error is involved in the majority of car accidents, other causes certainly contribute. These may include poor vehicle maintenance, defective road conditions, and weather conditions. In fact, out of the six million car crashes that happen every year, approximately 22 percent are weather-related.
Common Injuries Resulting From Car Crashes
Car accidents are dangerous and can result in serious injuries to almost any part of the body. While these injuries vary in scope and severity depending on the circumstances of the collision, some of the more common injuries that result from these crashes include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Facial trauma
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage and bleeding
- Loss of a limb
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Wrongful death
Who is Responsible for a Motor Vehicle Collision?
The law refers to those who can be held responsible for causing an accident as being “liable.” Given the various causes of vehicle accidents, numerous different parties could be liable for a given car accident. In many crashes, more than one party is liable. However, liable parties tend to include:
- The Other Motorist: A driver who breaks the rules of the road, leading to the accident, often than not bears liability. For instance, if a driver does not stop at a stop sign, drives at excessive speeds, or is distracted because they are texting and driving, and then crashes into another vehicle, they can be held accountable to pay for the injuries and damages of others involved in the accident.
- The Vehicle Manufacturer: If the car crash resulted from faulty components or equipment, such as defective brakes, the manufacturer of such faulty components or equipment may be liable for the victim’s injuries and losses.
- Third Parties: In some crashes, a third party can be liable for the impact. This third party can include mechanics, a driver’s employer, the vehicle’s owner, pedestrians, passengers, and other motorists. The liable third parties depend on the unique facts of the case.
Even though determining fault for a car accident is not easy, especially if several parties are involved in the crash, understanding who is potentially liable for an accident can help ensure you get the damages you need. That is why it is important to reach out to a skilled and knowledgeable car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a vehicle accident. These attorneys can quickly get to work, investigating the crash, figuring out what happened and who contributed to the accident, and taking the steps necessary to hold all those responsible for your harm and losses accountable.
What You Should Do Following a Motor Vehicle Accident
While car accidents are stressful and chaotic, victims should understand that the actions they take after an accident are crucial, not only to protect health and safety but their legal rights as well. For these reasons, following a motor vehicle accident, you should consider doing the following:
Contact the Authorities Immediately
Following a vehicle crash, you should contact 911 as soon as possible. This is the fastest way to reach emergency medical personnel and notify them that you or someone at the scene needs immediate medical help and get your accident on record. Police will also respond. Once the police get to the scene, they can investigate the accident and record their observations and evidence in a police report. If you decide you want to pursue legal action for the damages you sustained from the accident, this report can provide you with valuable details regarding what happened.
Go to a Doctor
Even if you do not feel like you need emergency medical help, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible following a crash. This is because serious injuries, such as brain trauma, can take some time to manifest; yet, the longer you wait to get such a condition checked out, the more dangerous and deadly it can become. In addition, getting prompt treatment can protect your right to compensation. In general, you will bring a claim against a defendant’s insurer. Insurance companies are notorious for using anything they can to deny or minimize claims. They could even use your failure to get examined by a doctor after your collision to refute your claim. The insurer will argue that your injuries are not that serious, that a subsequent event actually caused your injuries, or that you are responsible for the extent of your injuries by not seeking immediate medical attention. When a medical professional sees you shortly after your crash, they can document your injuries in a medical report, providing you with a direct link between your car accident and the harm you sustained.
Gather Evidence, Including Pictures and Videos
If you are able and it is safe to do so, take as many photos and videos of the accident scene as possible. This should include pictures of the vehicles involved in the collision, their placement on the road, your visible injuries, the damage done to your car, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, traffic signs near the accident, skid marks on the road, and any other details that can help show how the accident transpired.
Get Information From the Other Drivers
Try to exchange details with the other drivers involved in the accident, including names, driver’s license numbers, contact information, and insurance information.
Check for Witnesses
If there were other people present at the scene of the accident, try to get their names and numbers. These individuals can often provide you with further details regarding the incident, which can be helpful to your case, and they could even provide testimony later on to substantiate your claim. If witnesses are hesitant to talk with you, do not pressure them. Instead, leave it to your attorney to use their tools and resources to obtain the witness testimony and other evidence you need to prove your claim.
Watch What You Say to Others
Following a crash, take care of what you say to others at the scene. This means you want to avoid making any definitive statements about the collision, taking the blame for any part of the accident, or apologizing for what occurred. These types of comments can end up coming back to bite you, lessening the amount of money you can receive or jeopardizing your claim completely.
Reach out to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today and Get the Legal Help You Need
To bring a successful injury claim following a motor vehicle crash, you need to produce reliable evidence and strong legal arguments to prove your case. However, after a car crash, this is likely the last thing you feel ready to handle, especially as you are dealing with all the debilitating injuries and losses. Thankfully, you do not have to take on this challenging ordeal alone. With an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney on your side, you can get the legal help you need to pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. An attorney can:
- Go over your accident, determine if you have a viable claim, and figure out your legal options.
- Answer any questions and concerns you have regarding the accident and the legal process.
- Investigate your car crash, secure the evidence needed to prove fault and damages, and build the strongest case possible on your behalf.
- Retain experts, such as doctors and accident reconstructionists, to back up your claim.
- Handle all negotiations with a defendant and their insurer, and fight for the just compensation you need.
- Proceed to trial, if the other side is unwilling to agree to a fair settlement amount, and fight for maximum compensation.
If you or a family member has been harmed or has died in a car accident, you do not deserve to take on the consequences by yourself—those responsible for the accident should pay. But you need to bring a claim against them to get the compensation you deserve. Contact an experienced car accident attorney today for a free case evaluation and to see how they can help you pursue the financial recovery you deserve.