Fatal Car Accidents
Many people remember when vehicles didn’t have airbags, kids didn’t wear seatbelts, and a car accident was often a death sentence. Even though we’ve come a long way since then, car accidents are still one of the leading causes of fatalities in the United States. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 38,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2020 alone. In Colorado, there were a reported 574 fatal crashes in 2020, accounting for roughly 1.5% of the national total.
While it may be encouraging to know that Colorado’s fatalities are such a relatively low percentage when compared to the national total, the reality is that no surviving family member of a fatal accident victim ever feels that their loss is anything but 100%.
Contact Mountain States Injury Law to Request a Free Consultation Today
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident due to someone else’s recklessness or negligence, a mechanical defect, or any other cause, you may feel overwhelmed, scared, and alone. The good news is that you don’t have to go through this difficult time by yourself. You have legal options, and there are experienced car accident lawyers who can help you every step of the way. Our firm represents cases in Colorado, Montana, and Idaho.
At Mountain States Injury Law, our passionate and experienced team of personal injury lawyers has been representing the rights of car accident victims for years. We understand the trauma and devastation that a fatal accident can cause, and will do everything in our power to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve.
Read more below to learn about some of the most common causes of fatal car accidents and how surviving family members can seek justice through personal injury law as they fight to recover the compensation they deserve. While no amount of money can undo the trauma and heartache of losing a loved one, it can help ease the financial burden and provide some measure of closure.
Common Causes Of Fatal Car Accidents
Many different factors can contribute to a fatal car accident. In some cases, a single mistake or error in judgment can be the difference between life and death. Other times, a combination of factors may contribute to an accident, any one of which may not have been enough to cause a fatal crash on its own.
Some of the most common causes of fatal car accidents include the following:
This has become one of the leading causes of car accidents in recent years, as more and more drivers are using their phones while behind the wheel. Texting, browsing the internet, and even talking on the phone can take a driver’s attention away from the road long enough to cause a serious or fatal accident.
Drunk driving is one of the most preventable causes of car accidents, yet it remains all too common. In 2020, 11,654 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in the United States, and 1/3 of the fatal accidents in Colorado involved an impaired driver.
Speed is a factor in nearly a third of all fatal car accidents. When drivers exceed the posted speed limit or drive too fast for road conditions, they put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk.
Falling asleep at the wheel is obviously dangerous, yet many drivers do it anyway. In fact, drowsy driving may be more common than you think, as according to one study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1 in 5 fatal accidents involve a drowsy driver.
Poor Road Conditions
Bad weather, potholes, and other road hazards can make driving conditions more dangerous and contribute to accidents. While a driver is not responsible for the weather, they are responsible for how they operate their vehicle in dangerous or adverse conditions.
Mechanical Failures and Manufacturing Defects
In some cases, an accident may be caused by a mechanical failure or defect in the car itself. If this is the case, you may have grounds to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
These are just some of the most common causes of fatal car accidents. In reality, any type of driver error, mechanical failure, or environmental factor can contribute to a crash. Whether or not you see the cause of your loved one’s crash listed above, contact us right away to request a free consultation about your case.
Fatal Car Accident Statistics
Every year, automakers come out with new safety features and improved crash ratings designed to keep passengers safe in the event of a crash. In 2012, vehicles had a 56% lower fatality risk than vehicles in the 1950s, according to the NHTSA. Put differently: in 2020, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles was 1.34, and in 1960, the rate was 5.06. That’s a significant improvement and a testament to modern safety features, material science, crash testing, and more.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Per the Colorado Statutes 13-21-202: “Action notwithstanding death. When the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another, and the act, neglect, or default is such as would, if death had not ensued, have entitled the party injured to maintain an action and recover damages in respect thereof, then, and in every such case, the person who or the corporation which would have been liable, if death had not ensued, shall be liable in an action for damages notwithstanding the death of the party injured.”
In other words, a wrongful death is when someone dies from an incident that would have been a personal injury had the victim lived.
Compensation For Surviving Family of Fatal Car Crashes
If your loved one was killed in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.
A successful wrongful death claim can result in compensation for damages such as:
Funeral and Burial Expenses
You may be able to recover the costs of your loved one’s funeral and burial.
Loss of Financial Support
If your loved one was the primary breadwinner in your household, you may be able to recover the loss of their income.
Loss of Companionship
You may be able to recover damages for the loss of your loved one’s companionship, love, comfort, and society.
Pain and Suffering
You may also be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering that your loved one endured before their death.
In rare cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages if the at-fault party’s negligence was so egregious that the judge or jury believes that additional measures must be taken. These are never included in settlement negotiations and are only awarded at the end of a trial.