What can you accomplish in ten minutes? Maybe you can wash the dishes or walk the dog. But you might not know that, in just ten minutes, more than three persons will die from an accidental (preventable) injury-related death in the U.S., at a cost of $18.5 million.
Of all deaths due to injury in the U.S., 7 out of 10 are preventable, and some of these deaths are due to another party’s recklessness or negligence.
Facts about Avoidable Injury-Related Deaths
A person’s death is always caused by something. In some cases, it’s the result of the natural progression of a disease, with no injury involved, but sometimes deaths result from severe injuries. Such injury-related deaths can be of three types:
- Intentional, such as with homicide, war, or suicide
- Of undetermined intent, where no one is at fault
- Preventable (accidental), which can have an element of fault.
Catastrophic injury that leads to death can leave loved ones bereft, both emotionally and financially. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon. On average, a preventable injury-related death occurs every 3 minutes in our country according to 2016 figures. The top three reasons for preventable injury-related deaths are:
- Poisoning (which includes all types of drug overdoses)
- Motor vehicle crashes
These three causes, taken together, are responsible for almost 83 percent of accidental injury-related deaths. The fourth cause, other transportation (water, air, and non-motor vehicle transport), is barely 5 percent. The total number of U.S. deaths caused by preventable injury in 2016 was approximately 161,000, which was almost 15,000 more fatalities than 2015. Of the 15,000, almost 8,000 of the deaths were due to the rise in opioid fatalities.
Preventable injury deaths are the third leading cause of death in the U.S.; and, for every person who dies accidentally, roughly 135 end up in an emergency department, with 13 admitted to the hospital.
Where and Why Do Accidental Injury-Caused Deaths Happen?
About half of all preventable injury-related deaths occur in the home, where falls are the likeliest cause. Motor vehicle crashes are responsible for a fourth of such deaths; 2016 saw over 40,000 traffic fatalities. Almost another fourth of fatalities occurred in public for a variety of reasons. (Public deaths in this categorization include any areas that are not in the home or in a motor vehicle.) The final category is workplace injuries that cause deaths: once every two hours, a preventable injury-related death takes place on the job. In 2016, that added up to about 4,400 fatalities among those who were just doing their jobs.
But these preventable deaths are not things that “simply happen.” Many times, they are someone’s fault. Some examples are:
- The drunk driver who crashed into a loved one at high speed
- The construction site fall off a roof due to inadequate safety equipment
- The misdiagnosis of an injury or disease that caused a fatal delay in treatment
- The furniture that tipped over, killing a toddler.
Whatever the reason, if you believe negligence was a factor, seeking the help of an experienced attorney can be a wise decision.