U.S. Traffic Deaths in 2023 Remain Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

U.S. Traffic Fatalities Are on the Rise

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Despite advancements in technology, safety measures, and increased awareness, the United States continues to see an uptick in car accidents and traffic-related fatalities. In 2022, traffic fatalities hit a 20-year high. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 9,600 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the first quarter of 2022. This is the highest number of first-quarter traffic deaths since 2002.


U.S. Auto Accident Statistics

In 2021, it was estimated that there were over 6 million police-reported motor vehicle accidents in the United States. Of those, over 39,000 were fatal auto accidents. In the U.S., there are 14.3 auto accident-related deaths per 100,000 people.

Teens are at a greater risk of being involved in a fatal auto accident. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged 13 to 19 years old. Teen drivers between 16 and 19 are about 3 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than drivers aged 20 and older.


States with the Highest Traffic Fatality Rates

Certain states maintain higher fatal car accident rates, in part, due to higher speed limits, lower seatbelt usage, higher population, higher number of licensed drivers, and poor road conditions. Some of the states with the highest traffic fatality rates include Arizona, California, Colorado, and Texas.

Despite having about 9 million fewer licensed drivers, Texas had just 38 fewer fatal auto accidents than California in 2020. There were 3,558 fatal crashes in California compared to 3,520 in Texas. Arizona maintains a high traffic fatality rate of 14.7 deaths per 100,000 people.


Did You Lose a Loved One in an Auto Accident?

Losing a loved one in an auto accident is an unimaginable tragedy that leaves families devastated and searching for answers. Surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death suit to recover financial compensation and hold responsible parties accountable. In such a difficult time, it’s crucial to understand your legal options and whether pursuing a wrongful death claim is the best course of action.

Seeking justice for your loved one and ensuring your family’s financial well-being may involve legal action, and consulting with an experienced wrongful death lawyer can provide the guidance and support needed during this difficult time.


What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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A wrongful death action is a legal claim taken by the surviving family members of a deceased person against the party responsible for the death. These lawsuits are designed to provide compensation for the financial and emotional losses incurred due to the wrongful act, negligence, or misconduct of another person, company, or entity.

Survivors can seek compensation in a wrongful death suit including medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of financial support, and emotional distress. Each wrongful death case is unique, and an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help assess the specific damages applicable to your situation.


Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Determining who has the legal standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit is a critical aspect of the legal process. Generally, the following parties may pursue a wrongful death claim:

  • The surviving spouse
  • The decedent’s children
  • The deceased person’s parents
  • A personal representative of the decedent’s estate

Spouses and children often have the first right, followed by parents if there are no surviving spouses or children. Siblings and other extended family members may have the right to file in certain circumstances.

In many jurisdictions, adopted children and stepchildren have the same rights as biological children in wrongful death cases. It’s essential to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney to learn about your legal rights and the viability of your case.


Most Common Types of Auto Accident Wrongful Death Cases

Auto accidents are a leading cause of wrongful death cases in the US. Whether it’s a collision, pedestrian accident, or motorcycle crash, negligence on the part of another driver or entity can lead to devastating consequences.

Distracted Driving Accidents

With the prevalence of cell phones, car technology, and other distractions, accidents caused by distracted driving have become alarmingly common. Texting, talking on the phone, or other distractions can lead to fatal collisions, making it a significant factor in wrongful death cases.

Drunk Driving Crashes

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a blatant disregard for the safety of others on the road. Fatalities resulting from drunk driving accidents are not only tragic but often serve as grounds for a strong wrongful death claim against the intoxicated driver.

Speeding-Related Accidents

Excessive speeding significantly increases the severity of accidents. When a driver’s reckless behavior leads to a fatal collision, it may constitute grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Intersection Collisions

Intersection accidents account for over 50% of all fatal and injury crashes in the United States. Accidents at intersections can be caused by various factors, including running red lights or stop signs. Determining fault in these cases is crucial in establishing liability for a wrongful death claim.

Pedestrian and Cyclist Accidents

Pedestrians and cyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road. When a motor vehicle strikes a pedestrian or cyclist, it can lead to a fatal accident. 


Recoverable Damages In Wrongful Death Lawsuits

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Understanding the types of damages that may be recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit is essential when considering legal action. Auto accidents resulting in wrongful death cases often lead to profound emotional and financial consequences for the surviving family members. Seeking financial recovery can help alleviate the economic burdens associated with the wrongful death.

The following damages may be recoverable in a wrongful death suit:

Economic Damages – These damages include tangible financial losses incurred by the surviving family members, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and the deceased person’s lost earnings. Calculating economic damages requires a thorough assessment of past and future financial losses.

Non-Economic Damages – Non-economic damages are more subjective and help compensate victims for losses, including emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and mental distress.

Determining the full extent of recoverable damages requires legal expertise. A skilled wrongful death lawyer can assess the value of your case and help you build a compelling wrongful death claim.


The Burden of Proof in Wrongful Death Claims

A successful wrongful death lawsuit requires meeting the burden of proof, demonstrating that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly led to your loved one’s death. Understanding the elements involved in proving a wrongful death case is essential for building a strong legal argument.

Causation: It’s crucial to establish a clear link between the defendant’s actions and the fatal accident. This requires presenting evidence that proves the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the person’s death.

Duty of Care: In many cases, proving negligence involves establishing that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicles safely and avoid causing harm to others.

Breach of the Duty of Care: In a wrongful death claim, you must prove that the defendant acted negligently or engaged in misconduct that directly caused the death. This may involve demonstrating violations of traffic laws or safety regulations, such as running a red light.

Damages: The victims must have suffered damages as a result of the auto accident. Damages can include lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

Expert Testimony: Expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals, can play a vital role in proving the elements of negligence and causation. 


Do I Need To Hire A Lawyer To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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While there is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer, seeking professional legal representation is highly advisable when pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. The complexities of the legal process, coupled with the emotional challenges of losing a loved one, make having an experienced attorney invaluable.

  • An experienced wrongful death attorney has the expertise to handle the complexities of the case.
  • Wrongful death lawyers play a crucial role in investigating the circumstances surrounding the death, gathering evidence, and consulting with expert witnesses. 
  • A skilled personal injury lawyer can negotiate with insurance companies and opposing parties on your behalf. 
  • In many cases, wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only receive payment if they successfully secure compensation for you. 
  • Most wrongful death attorneys offer free initial consultations, allowing you to discuss the details of your case without any financial commitment.


Should I Accept a Wrongful Death Settlement From The Insurance Company?

Insurance companies often approach grieving families with settlement offers following a wrongful death incident. It’s crucial to approach settlement offers with caution and seek legal advice before making any decisions. Insurance companies are motivated by their bottom line and work to minimize settlement payouts.

Accepting an early settlement from an insurance company may not fully account for the long-term financial impact of your loved one’s passing. It’s common for insurance companies to offer lower amounts in the hope that grieving families will accept without fully understanding the potential future costs they may incur.

Wrongful death lawyers can review the settlement terms, assess whether they align with the full extent of your losses, and negotiate with the insurance company to secure a fair and just settlement.


Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Near You Today

Wrongful death attorneys not only provide legal representation but also offer valuable guidance and support during an emotionally challenging time. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, contacting a wrongful death attorney is a critical step in seeking justice and fair compensation.

Navigating the legal process alone can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Having a compassionate and seasoned attorney by your side can make a huge difference. Are you looking for an experienced lawyer for wrongful death? Contact Alpha Accident Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.
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