In many countries, unintentional accidents are a leading cause of death. Every year, tens of thousands die in preventable injuries and accidents, and many more are seriously injured.
What are the leading causes of accidental death in USA? The most common causes of accidental death include motor vehicle accidents, falls, drowning, poisoning, and fires/burns. There are laws and regulations to help prevent many of these accidents, but unfortunately, they are still quite common. Many accidental deaths are preventable, and some can be categorized as wrongful deaths. In any case, it is important to have an experienced attorney from Jared Spingarn, P.A. Accident Attorneys (if you are in Florida) to help you with filing a claim if your loved one passed away due to accidental or wrongful death.
What is an accidental death?
Accidental death is defined as a death that is the result of an accident or unintentional injuries and is not due to natural causes. In the United States, the number of deaths arising from accidents accounts for about 6% of all deaths each year.
Accidental deaths occur when an individual dies due to an unintentional or unforeseen event. This can include deaths from motor vehicle traffic accidents, falls, unintentional poisoning, and drowning. Bicycle accidents are one type of accident that can lead to accidental death.
Most accidental deaths are preventable deaths, which means that they could have been avoided if different circumstances had been in place. For example, wearing a seatbelt can help prevent deaths from motor vehicle accidents.
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Statistics on the Leading Causes of Accidental Death in the US and Florida
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that more than 200,000 people face death due to unintentional injuries. This is the leading cause of death for Americans aged between 1 and 44 years. The top three leading causes of accidental death in the USA are motor vehicle crashes, poisoning, drowning, and falls.
Motor vehicle crashes remain to be the leading cause of death among Americans aged between 5 and 34 years. Forty-three thousand deaths per year occur from car crashes in the US. Out of these, 28% of the total number of deaths are caused by alcohol consumption.
Around 6 million car accidents resulting in property damage and personal injury occur every year in America. If you are based in Florida and happen to encounter an accident, Jared Spingarn’s Personal Injury law firm is always ready to help by offering free consultations.
Unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of death among Americans aged between 35 and 54. This category also covers unintentional drug overdoses. Opioid overdose, also referenced as the opioid crisis, alone took more than 60,000 American lives in 2020. In fact, there are occasions when accidental drug overdose overtakes car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the USA.
Drowning is the leading cause of death among children aged between 1 and 4. It is also a leading cause of death due to unintentional injury among adults aged between 55 and 64 years. Around 3,500 deaths per year occur due to drowning in the US.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death among adults aged 65. Every year, around 25,000 Americans aged 65 years and older die from falls.
Specifically in Florida, the leading cause of accidental death is motor vehicle accidents. In 2018, there were 2,932 motor vehicle fatalities in Florida. This was a 3% increase from the previous year. The leading causes of these fatalities were speeding (30%), distracted driving (26%), and DUI (24%).
Florida is one of the leading states when it comes to pedestrian fatalities. In 2017, Florida had the second-highest number of pedestrian fatalities in the US. There were 5,233 pedestrian fatalities in the US in 2017, and 783 of those were in Florida. Because of this, the state has multiple regulations related to motor vehicle traffic. The latest safety news generally concerns new legislation surrounding texting and driving as well as hit-and-run accidents.
Bike Accident Statistics
Even though only 1% of all transportation in the United States accounts for bicycle trips, 2% of people who die in a motor vehicle incident are on bicycle trips on the nation’s roads. This makes it an interesting topic to discuss when tackling the leading causes of accidental death in USA. It comprises people riding two-wheel, non-motorized vehicles, as well as tricycles and unicycles operated through pedals. Yearly, 1,000 bicyclists die on US roads, while 130,000 are injured.
The Cost Involving Bicycle Accidents
About $23 Billion is the cost of all preventable injuries and deaths involving bicycle accidents that occur in the United States each year. This amount covers the medical needs and loss of work productivity due to the accident.
If the parties involved in the bicycle accident are not in agreement on the amount of compensation, either party may file a lawsuit and ask for damages. If a permanent disability is involved, a party may be compelled by the court to shell out more, especially if the disabled have multiple dependents. The decreased quality of life and lost lives are also factored in computing for the settlements.
Laws on Accidental Death
With the statistics discussed above, the National Safety Council has consistently prioritized safety to address leading causes of accidental death in USA and save lives. But, there are also a number of laws that give survivors the right to sue for damages and pursue punitive actions after the death of a loved one in an accident. These wrongful death laws allow survivors to recover damages for their losses, including the loss of financial support, emotional anguish, the loss of companionship, or other such thing.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of death. This means that survivors have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.
Murder vs Homicide vs Accidental Death
In the US, the legal distinction between murder and homicide is that homicide is the killing of one person by another, while murder is a type of homicide in which the killing was done unlawfully and with intent.
There are different types of homicide that may be applicable to preventable or unintentional deaths, such as manslaughter, felony murder, and justifiable homicide. These three generally differ in the level of intent or culpability required for a person to be charged with the crime.
Manslaughter is typically charged when the death was caused by recklessness or criminal negligence rather than intentional murder. There occurred an unlawful killing of another person without a malicious aforethought. This means that the perpetrator has no intent to severely cause injuries to the victims. It is divided into two types: voluntary and involuntary.
Voluntary manslaughter is when the killing is done in the heat of the moment, such as in a fit of rage. An example would be if two people got into a fistfight, and one of them ended up dying as a result. The other person could be charged with voluntary manslaughter.
Involuntary manslaughter, on the other hand, is when the death occurs due to criminal negligence. This means that the perpetrator did not intend to kill the victim, but their actions were so careless that they resulted in death. An example of this would be if a driver was speeding and ended up hitting and killing a pedestrian. Although fatalities from traffic incidents may be viewed as unintentional or accidental deaths, they can indeed result in criminal charges.
Felony murder is a type of murder that occurs when someone kills another person while committing a felony, such as a robbery. Though someone may argue that the death was accidental, the law typically does not view it that way.
Justifiable homicide is when the killing of another person is considered lawful, such as in self-defense or defense of others. To prove this, one would need to show that the killing was necessary to prevent an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm.
The Bottom Line: Where to seek help?
Motor vehicle and drug overdose are the leading causes of accidental death in USA. Although unintentional injury-related death is generally not a crime, laws have been created to protect the survivors of the victim. These laws allow them to file for a lawsuit to receive compensation for their damages, including the loss of financial support, emotional anguish, and the loss of companionship.
Furthermore, there are laws that make it easier to criminally charge someone if the death was caused by negligence, such as vehicular homicide. It is important to know the difference between these types of homicide so that you can determine what type of legal action can be taken.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident and are not sure what to do next, you may want to get a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney at the law offices of Jared Spingarn, P.A. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you understand the applicable laws and whether you have a case. If you do have a case, your attorney can also help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.