Risk of vehicle-related death is lower but still exists

Technological advancements in vehicle safety and improvements in structural design have made it safer in recent years to be on the road. Safety technologies such as seat belts and electronic stability control are credited with saving thousands of lives. Nevertheless, in Louisiana and across the U.S., motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause of death.

While highway fatalities have significantly declined over the past few decades, the probability of dying in a car accident was calculated to be one in 77 in 2013, one of the highest-probability causes of death, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The probability of death from an automobile accident is comparable to death by firearms, which is also one in 77, and death by falls, suicide and poisoning. While dying in an automobile crash is still much less likely than dying from heart disease, the leading cause of death, or even influenza and pneumonia, it is much more likely than death resulting from homicide, skin cancer, drowning or fire.

The statistics for death from accidents involving vehicles include those in which occupants of the vehicle were killed, as well as pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. While occupants of the involved vehicle have the greatest probability of death and pedestrians are the second most likely to die, the survival rate increases for motorcyclists and bicyclists.

Even with technological and safety advances continuing to increase, motor vehicle accidents will continue to happen. The surviving family members of a person who has been killed in such a crash will often face severe financial losses, especially if the decedent was a contributor to household expenses. In the event that the accident was caused by a negligent driver, an attorney for the family members might recommend seeking compensation through the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault motorist.

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