Car accidents are a leading cause of death both nationally and locally. To be sure, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every year throughout the United States, more than 32,000 people are killed, and more than two million are injured, in motor vehicle crashes. Data published by the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) shows that car accident fatalities are common in Ohio as well, with an average of nearly 1,000 fatal accidents per year over a five-year period.
Car accidents deaths, despite how frequently they occur, are completely preventable. The following considers statistics surrounding motor vehicle deaths in Ohio, and what your options are if you have lost a loved one in a car accident in Toledo.
Ohio Car Accident Statistics You Should Know
The same source cited above provided by the OSHP provides more insight about the number of fatal accidents that have occurred in Ohio over the past five years, including who was involved (i.e. pedestrian vs. motorist), whether or not alcohol impairment was a factor, and whether or not safety precautions–such as the use of a helmet or seatbelt–were taken. Statistics from the most recent year for which data is available, 2016, provide the following information:
- Number of fatal crashes: 1,054
- Traffic fatalities that resulted: 1,133
- Motor vehicle fatalities: 947
- Unbelted fatalities: 431
- Non-motorist fatalities: 159
- Pedestrians killed: 140
- OVI (operating a vehicle under the influence)-related fatalities: 430
- Motorcycle fatalities: 200
- Helmeted deaths: 50
- Heavy-truck involved fatalities: 93
Finding accurate statistics for the number of car accidents that took place in Toledo is harder. Ohio Traffic Crash Facts, published by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, show that in 2016, there were 35 fatal accidents reported in Lucas County (in which Toledo is located), resulting in 36 fatalities. The only county in the state that saw more fatal accidents than Toledo was Montgomery County, where there were 61 fatalities recorded over the one-year period.
Car Accident Deaths Are Preventable
One of the saddest and most shocking facts about the number of fatal accidents reported in Toledo and nationally every year is this: car accident deaths are completely preventable. Indeed, if drivers were to pay more attention and exercise a greater duty of care when operating their vehicles, car accidents and related deaths could likely be eliminated entirely.
It is very rare for car accidents to occur as a result of completely preventable and unforeseen acts of nature, such as an animal darting into the road. Instead, acts of human error like speeding, drunk driving, driving aggressively or too fast for conditions, texting while driving, and falling asleep at the wheel are usually to blame. Sometimes, things like road or vehicle defects lead to a crash, but these too are things that could be prevented, and are caused by human errors (i.e. manufacturing errors, failure to repair known dangers on roads, etc.).
A Responsible Party Should Be Held Liable
While it is certainly true that those involved in a car accident rarely cause a crash with intent, it is also fair to say that a driver (or other party) who is responsible for a fatal accident should be held liable for all damages, including of course, the death of the victim involved. Which is why the state of Ohio allows for surviving family members to bring forth a claim against the responsible party, or file a lawsuit to seek damages for their losses. Responsible parties might include:
- A negligent driver;
- The manufacturer of a defective vehicle;
- The party responsible for road maintenance (i.e. municipal government); and
- A trucking or other commercial vehicle company (if a commercial vehicle was involved).
Surviving family members deserve to seek compensation for the full value of damages that they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death. This might include compensation for medical bills prior to death, property damage to a vehicle, the value of the deceased’s lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and noneconomic damages, such as compensation for the value of the loss of services provided by the deceased, guidance and support, consortium, and more.
In the majority of cases, these damages are paid by the liability insurance of the at-fault party. All drivers in the state are required to carry liability insurance to pay for damages that they cause to other parties.
Hiring an Experienced Attorney after a Car Accident Death Is Necessary
The idea of being notified that your loved one, be it a spouse, child, partner, sibling, parent, or other close relative, has been killed in a motor vehicle accident may be painful to even imagine, yet it is a reality that hundreds of people in the state of Ohio have to deal with every single year. For those that lose a family member in a motor vehicle crash, knowing what comes next can feel overwhelming. Planning for a funeral is an emotional and daunting task, and there may be many unanswered questions about who will pay for the funeral, how a family will support themselves now that their sole income earner is gone, and how individuals will cope with the emotional distress that is present when a family member dies.
If you have lost a loved one in a car crash, the last thing that you may be thinking about is calling a lawyer. At the law offices of Groth & Associates, we empathize with you and understand the fear and pain that you are currently experiencing, and understand that filing a claim may not be at the top of your priority list.
We urge you to call an experienced car accident attorney in Toledo with a history of success in deadly motor vehicle collision cases as soon as possible. The sooner that you call an attorney, the earlier that evidence critical to the case can be gathered and preserved. Waiting too long to take action may also result in a breach of the statute of limitations.
You deserve to be compensated after a loved one is killed in a car accident. The best way that you can maximize the amount of compensation is to work with an attorney who knows what they’re doing and isn’t afraid to aggressively fight for your right to your full settlement.
Call Our Law Offices Today
Motor vehicle deaths in Toledo are far too common. Our lawyers are advocates for safer driving, and hope that in time, the city and the state will reach the goal of zero fatalities. If you are someone who has lost a loved one in a car crash, please do not hesitate to call our law offices for a free case review and legal advice. You can also send us a message at your convenience using our intake form, and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible. Our lawyers are here to work for you.