When it comes to the deadliness of our roads, two recent years (2015 and 2016) came close to setting records. In 2015, there were more than 35,000 traffic fatalities in the US, followed by 37,461 in 2016. That spike was an increase of more than 14 percent, the largest two-year jump on record.
All the data for 2017 isn’t in yet, but the indications aren’t particularly good: Preliminary estimates suggest the numbers will be about the same as in 2016.
The 2016 numbers showed increases almost everywhere: Crash deaths were up for cars, vans, SUVs, and pickups; they were up for motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bikers; fatal crashes involving alcohol were up. All types of vehicles and all types of road users recorded more traffic deaths than the year before.
It’s hard to find something in the data to be optimistic about, but there might be a very slight glimmer of improvement on the horizon. Two problems that have been major issues in recent years—distracted driving and drowsy driving—showed small changes for the better. The number of fatal crashes where those problems were known to have been a cause were down slightly.
An independent look at the data by the National Safety Council might have more favorable news for residents of the Bay State. While the NSC’s national total was similar to that from the federal government, its preliminary figures found a small decline (less than one percent). That data was also broken down by state, and Massachusetts fared well: An estimated 10 percent drop compared to last year (still leaving us 2 percent above 2015’s total).
About seventy people are seriously injured for every person killed in a motor vehicle crash. In Massachusetts, that translates to roughly 25,000 serious injuries (requiring emergency room treatment) just last year.
State law, under the no-fault auto insurance system we use, restricts the ability of injured motorists to sue when medical expenses are under $2,000. However, when that amount has been exceeded, or when the injuries meet certain serious impairment or disfigurement criteria, the victim is allowed to file a claim in court.
In addition to the damages that can be added up, crash victims can also sue for non-economic damages, a category often broadly referred to as pain and suffering but which includes physical pain, anxiety, embarrassment, loss of consortium, and other factors that are more difficult to measure than adding up doctor bills.
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a crash, there will be many expenses to face. There are the upfront costs of emergency medical treatment, which often give way to ongoing rehabilitation and care expenses. Property damage costs (such as replacing a vehicle) may be steep, and lost wages and income can place a great burden on a victim. These costs can be measured, but some cannot.
Turn to the experienced automobile accident attorneys at Joel H. Schwartz, PC for assistance. We’ve helped hundreds of clients successfully reach settlements in their injury cases, and we can help you. Give us a call at 1-800-660-2270 or contact us online through the form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today.