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Fatal Car Accidents

Fatal Car Accidents

Traffic fatalities are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Car crashes claim the lives of approximately 30,000 – 40,000 Americans each year, including 3,000 – 5,000 Texans.

Roadways have generally gotten safer over the years due to better road designs, improved vehicle safety technology, and public campaigns to reduce drunk driving. But in the last few years roadway fatalities have started to creep back up, both in Texas and nationally. Texas recently saw its deadliest driving year in four decades.

The family of a traffic fatality victim may be able to seek financial compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income and support, and other losses through a wrongful death claim. Fatal car crash claims can be complex and may require assistance from a wrongful death attorney.

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Roadways are Becoming Increasingly Deadly

Cars and trucks have never been safer. Features like forward-collision and blind spot warning systems are now standard features on most new models. Vehicles can alert us about objects we may not be able to see and can even brake automatically.

For decades, motor vehicle deaths declined as safety technology improved. However, in 2020, traffic deaths started to trend upwards again. And that was during a pandemic in which Americans were driving less. So, what happened?

No matter how many safety features our cars have, there’s a weak link in the safety chain: human beings. Ironically, while the technology in our vehicles has the potential to keep us safer, the technology in our hands—namely, our digital devices—are blamed for an increase in deadly distracted driving.

Evidence also suggests that aggressive driving is becoming more commonplace. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that, over the last 10 years, fatal crashes linked to aggressive driving rose nearly 500%.

Whatever the specific causes of fatal crashes, the numbers don’t lie. Our roads are getting deadlier, as these statistics show:

  • In 2020, more than 38,000 people nationwide lost their lives in traffic crashes—the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2007.
  • Traffic fatalities rose again in 2021 (42,939) and fell only slightly in 2022 (42,795).
  • Nearly 3,900 people died in Texas traffic crashes in 2020.
  • 2021 was the second deadliest year on record for Texas motorists, with 4,497 people killed—the most since 1981 and an increase of 18.4% compared to 2020.
  • The death toll on Texas roadways was 4,481 in 2022.

To put these numbers in perspective:

  • In 2022, a person was killed every 1 hour and 57 minutes on Texas roads.
  • The last deathless day on Texas roadways was November 7, 2000.

And to drive home the point that human error is the leading cause of deadly accidents:

  • 1,522 of the 4,480 Texas road deaths in 2021 (34%) were caused by speeding.
  • Other leading causes of Texas traffic fatalities are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and distracted driving.
  • In 2022, 26% of people killed in motor vehicle crashes were killed by drunk drivers.
  • Also in 2022, there were 484 people killed in crashes involving distracted driving—an 11% increase from 2021.

Today’s cars and trucks may be marvels of technology, but they can’t overcome every bad decision drivers make behind the wheel. Good, old-fashioned caution, courtesy, and common sense save lives, and are the key to making good on TxDOT’s #EndTheStreakTX campaign.

Deadly crashes don’t just involve one vehicle colliding with another, either. They also involve cars colliding with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, and workers on the side of the road. In addition to Texas’ rise in motor vehicle traffic fatalities, the state is seeing an uptick in bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities and work zone fatalities.

The persistence, and indeed the rise, of fatal car accidents caused by negligent drivers underscores the need for Texas wrongful death lawyers with a proven track record of verdicts and settlements in this area.

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Texas Cities Rank Among the Deadliest for Driving

Texas is the largest state in the lower 48 and has more miles of roads than any other state. Everything is bigger in Texas, and this includes an outsized risk of dying in a car accident, at least if you live in Houston, Fort Worth, or Dallas.

Car insurance comparison app Jerry compiled a list of the most dangerous cities for driving based on factors that include the total number of driving fatalities per 100,000 residents and the percentage of traffic fatalities involving alcohol. Three Texas cities ranked in the top 10. According to Jerry:

  • Houston has 10.1 vehicle fatalities per 100,000 residents; more than 40% of Houston’s deadly car accidents involve alcohol.
  • Fort Worth has 11.5 vehicle fatalities per 100,000 residents; 43.3% of driving fatalities in Fort Worth are alcohol involved.
  • Dallas has a vehicle fatality rate of 14.3 per 100,000 residents (the highest in the country); 42.2% of the city’s traffic fatalities involve alcohol.

An analysis by Aceable came up with comparable fatal car accident figures for Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, but ranked San Antonio as more dangerous for driving than Houston.

While individual figures and rankings may vary from year to year, no matter how you slice it, Texas has some of the deadliest roads in the country.

Did you lose a loved one in a car accident? Receive a free wrongful death case review from a car accident lawyer at Jim Adler & Associates.

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Texas Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuits

Normally, when a person is injured in a traffic accident, they can hold the at-fault party liable for their injuries. When the accident is fatal, the victim’s surviving family members may be able to bring what’s known as a wrongful death lawsuit and receive payment for their financial costs and emotional distress.

Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Personal Injury Claim

A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury case that survivors are permitted to bring when a loved one dies due to the negligence of another person.

The types of compensation available in a wrongful death lawsuit are similar to those that can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit. However, there are some unique aspects to Texas wrongful death law:

  • A wrongful death case can be filed if the person who was fatally injured would have been able to bring an injury case.
  • Wrongful death actions can also be brought if a fetus dies in utero due to a car accident (or other type of accident, such as a truck accident).
  • Wrongful death cases must be based on a wrongful act, carelessness, or unskillfulness.
  • If a person is liable for a wrongful death, they may have to compensate the victim’s surviving family members.
  • The victim’s surviving spouse, children, and parents may file a wrongful death lawsuit (either for their individual benefit or the benefit of all of them).
  • Survivors have two years from the date of a loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. This strict filing deadline makes it crucial to speak with a fatal car accident attorney right away, before the wrongful death statute of limitations expires.

Watch our video: What is Wrongful Death?

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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Compensation for a Fatal Car Accident

The death of a loved one can not only be emotionally devastating, but present financial difficulties as well, especially if the deceased was the sole or primary household earner.

A Texas wrongful death lawsuit can provide compensation that covers a range of losses. Types of wrongful death damages that can be recovered for the loss of a loved one include:

  • Loss of income that would have been provided by the deceased.
  • Loss of care, services, comfort, companionship, society, and support that the deceased would have provided to their family.
  • Mental distress/anguish/pain experienced by the survivors.
  • Pain and suffering of the decedent between the time of the accident and their death.
  • Lost inheritance, including what the deceased likely would have left to their family if they had lived and continued to earn/save.
  • Funeral expenses

Can I Sue if my Loved One Was Killed in a Car Crash or Work Injury? Watch the Video.

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The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney After a Fatal Accident

Despite safer vehicles and public safety campaigns, the need for experienced legal representation in accident cases remains high, which is why victims often seek free consultations with our auto accident lawyers to discuss potential legal action, including their right to pursue a wrongful death suit after a loved one was killed.

The primary job of an attorney handling a wrongful death claim is to prove that another party caused the accident. There cannot be compensation for a deceased person’s beneficiaries without the prior establishment of fault.

Once liability has been proven, there is also the matter of determining how much compensation wrongful death beneficiaries are owed. This is not as simple as it might seem.

When calculating a deceased person’s prospective lost income, for example, it is first necessary to determine all sources of income he or she would have earned over the remainder of his or her life. From this amount is subtracted the decedent’s estimated personal expenses, and from this revised amount the present value (adjusted for inflation and other fluctuating economic trends) must be calculated.

These calculations require working with experts and using evidence to substantiate wrongful death losses, underscoring the critical role of law firms with experience handling fatal accidents. To ensure proper compensation for negligent actions leading to a fatal accident, be sure to work with a law firm that has experience handling these types of claims.

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Talk to Our Wrongful Death Attorneys for a FREE Case Evaluation

Jim Adler & Associates, home of The Texas Hammer, has been representing injured Texans and their families for more than 50 years.

We play tough with insurance companies but show a softer, more compassionate side when dealing with wrongful death survivors. Many of our top case results have been in cases where somebody tragically died in a car wreck and needed the services of a fatal accident attorney.

We know that you can’t put a price on the loss of your loved one, but you can at least make sure that the person who took their life is made to pay, and that you receive the compensation you need and deserve.

If you lost a loved one in a car accident, please contact us to learn your legal rights and how a lawyer can help.

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