What Are The Odds of Dying in A Car Crash?

Whenever someone is involved in a car accident, there is a chance they sustain life-threatening injuries. Head-on collisions and rollover accidents have a high risk of traffic fatalities. However, any car crash could result in a traffic death.

No one wants to consider that they may never return home when they get into a vehicle. However, thousands of people each year who get into a car, go for a walk, or ride their bicycle never make it home because of a traffic accident.

How Common Are Traffic Fatalities?

According to the Bureau of Transportation, there were over 6.7 million traffic accidents in the United States in 2019. Over 2.7 million people sustained injuries in traffic accidents. Just over 36,000 people died because of car accident injuries.

The National Safety Council (NSC) ranks the chances of dying in a motor vehicle accident at 1 in 107. Heart disease and cancer remain the top two causes of death in the United States for 2019. Dying in a car accident is eighth on the list of odds of death. 

The good news is that motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists have a lower odds of dying. Motorcyclists have a one in 899 chance of dying. Pedestrians have a 1 in 543 chance of dying, and bicyclists have a 1 in 3,825 chance of dying.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Many factors can contribute to the cause of a car crash. Most of the factors stem from negligence and poor driving behaviors.

Four common causes of car wrecks in 2019 included:

  • Impaired driving was a factor in 28 percent of traffic fatalities. 
  • Speeding contributed to 26 percent of the traffic deaths.
  • Distractions were a factor in eight percent of fatal traffic accidents.
  • Drowsy driving accounted for two percent of the deaths in motor vehicle accidents.

Many other factors led to traffic accidents in 2019. Road hazards, weather conditions, defective automobile parts, and failing to obey traffic laws were also factors in many car crashes.

Car Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims

When a person sustains injuries in a car wreck, the driver who caused the accident can be financially responsible for the victim’s damages. Damages could include physical pain, lost income, emotional distress, and medical bills.

However, when a person dies because of car accident injuries, the person’s family may recover damages by filing a wrongful death claim

A wrongful death is a death caused by negligence or wrongdoing. The person who caused the death did not have to do so intentionally to be financially liable for damages caused by a death. A wrongful death claim can arise from any type of motor vehicle accident, including bicycle, pedestrian, truck, motorcycle, car, and bus accidents. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Pennsylvania?

Only certain people can file a wrongful death lawsuit under Pennsylvania’s wrongful death laws. Under state law, a person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the person did not have anyone with a legal right to file a claim, the wrongful death claim could be filed by the person’s estate. 

What Damages Can Family Members Receive for a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims, but the damages paid for wrongful death are slightly different. 

The family members are entitled to receive compensation for:

  • The cost of medical care and treatment from the date of the person’s injury through the date they die
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • The income the person would have contributed to the family had they survived
  • The value of comfort, society, and services the person would have contributed to the family had they survived
  • The psychological and emotional toll the family member’s experience because of their loved one’s death

The value of a wrongful death claim depends on the facts of the case. The jury decides how much the family should receive to compensate them for damages caused by their loved one’s death.

Deadlines for Filing Wrongful Death Claims

Families should seek legal advice regarding a wrongful death claim as soon as possible. The statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is generally two years from the date of the accident or the person’s death, whichever date is later.

Evidence needed to prove that the other party caused your loved one’s death could be destroyed or lost. Therefore, it is best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a fatal accident.