How frequently do Americans suffer accidental deaths and injuries? According to a recent report from the National Safety Council (NSC) reported in Forbes, these numbers have reached an “all-time high.” More specifically, in 2015, the rate of accidental deaths rose by 7.7%, meaning that more than 146,571 individuals lost their lives as a result of personal injury accidents, which places accidental deaths as the fourth-leading cause of death after heart disease, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease. Indeed, accidents result in more deaths than stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
When individuals sustain fatal personal injuries in accidents, there are high emotional costs for family members and other loved ones. Moreover, according to Ken Kolosh of the NSC, we should stop referring to these deaths as an “unintentional” or “accidental,” because research shows that “they’ve been proven over and over again to be 100 percent preventable.” When we use the terms “unintentional” or “accidental,” that language suggests that there is nothing to be done to avoid these injuries and deaths, yet with proper safety precautions and care, the total number of deaths could be substantially lower.
Overall deaths in the U.S. have decreased in the last three decades by almost 20 percent, but so-called unintentional deaths rates have, at the same time, rising by about 27 percent. If the rate of unintentional or accidental deaths had declined in a manner similar to overall deaths, nearly 60,000 people would not have lost their lives in 2015.
Getting the Facts About Unintentional and Personal Injury Accidents Resulting in Death
How can unintentional or accidental deaths be prevented? First, the NSC emphasizes that it is essential we recognize why the rate of accidental deaths and wrongful death claims has risen significantly since 1992. It cites the following causes:
Approximately 200,000 people die as a result of a personal injury accident each year in the U.S., and nearly 70% of those deaths are from unintentional or accidental injuries resulting from:
- Rise in poisoning-related deaths as a result of prescription drugs and illegal drugs (including opioids);
- Rise in fall-related deaths, particularly among the elderly; and
- Rise in motor vehicle crash fatalities.
In addition, the following statistics underscore how preventive measures need to be taken with regard to traffic and fall-related deaths, as well as to workplace accidents:
- More vehicles are on the roads than ever before (nearly 263 million vehicles in 2016), in addition to a record number of drivers (215 million), resulting in more collisions;
- Motor vehicle crash deaths rose by 7 percent in 2015, with nearly 38,000 fatalities;
- About 41% of all deadly workplace personal injury accidents are transportation-related fatalities;
- Sleep problems contribute to many workplace fatalities, as well as other motor vehicle fatalities; and
- By the time 2016 accidental death figures are calculated, the NSC predicts that there will have been at least a 6% rise in fatal injuries with more than 40,000 deaths.
In the event that your loved one experienced a personal injury accident, contact an experienced accident lawyer. Consulting with an attorney can help you understand your rights in the case of accidental death or injury.