A new report from the National Safety Council found that increasing numbers of Americans are dying in accidents each year. In 2014, over 136,000 Americans were killed accidentally, which represents an increase of 4.2 percent from the year before, and a jump of 15.5 percent over a decade. This increase in accidental deaths comes despite a 22 percent drop in car crash deaths since 2005. Sadly, an American dies of an accidental injury every four minutes.
The number one accidental killer in America is overdoses and accidental poisonings. These killed over 42,000 people in 2014, which is about 6,000 more people than were killed in automobile accidents. Opioid overdoses alone accounted for over 13,000 deaths in 2014.
In addition to the increase in overdoses, falls are also up 63 percent over the past decade. According to experts, the increase in falls is due to the aging society. The baby boomers are aging, and the elderly are very prone to serious injuries or even death from a fall.
California has one of the lowest accidental death rates in the country – about 30 people per 100,000. West Virginia has the highest, which is caused by overdoses. The national average is 41.3 accidental deaths per 100,000 people.
The good news from the report is that car crashes have become less lethal, partially due to new technology contained in vehicles. In addition, fewer teenagers and young adults are dying in car crashes, which has been attributed to stricter state laws on driving privileges. However, the U.S. still has a higher car fatality rate than other developed countries, partially because our drunk driving laws and other safety rules are less strict. Although the news about a decline in car accidents is positive, prescription drug abuse and opioid abuse is becoming much more deadly. In 1999, overdoses, poisonings and falls accounted for only 25 percent of accidental deaths, and now they comprise over half of them.
According to the report, the three biggest killers are still heart disease, cancer, and lower respiratory diseases. Unintentional injuries, including accidents at work, at home, and in vehicles, are now the fourth leading killer, and kill more individuals than flu, suicide, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Although many people believe that murder is a big risk in the U.S., there are actually eight accidental deaths for every murder. There are also twice as many suicides as murders, and suicides by gun are on the rise.
The report also pointed out how dangerous bathrooms can be, especially to the elderly who often fall in the bathroom. Surprisingly, accidents involving toilets sent over 100,000 people to the emergency room in 2014, which is more than were harmed by swimming pools, trampolines, saws or hammers. However, slippery floors and rugs sent even more to the emergency room – they cause an average of 1.6 million Americans each year to seek medical treatment.
Although the news about car accidents is positive, it’s unfortunate that more Americans are dying each year in accidents than ever before. Many of those accidents are caused by another party failing to take proper safety precautions or to behave in a safe manner. If you have been injured by a negligent individual or business, it’s important that you take steps to protect your legal rights.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty and Seth I. Rosenberg believe that anyone who has been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligent actions of another should call an attorney. If you are in the San Francisco area, call the San Francisco personal injury attorneys at Liberty Law at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. We can help. Call us today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation.