Accidents, as they say, happen. Luckily, most accidents result in bumps and bruises or the occasional set of stitches. But sometimes accidents turn into tragedies and result in accidental death. There are five types of events that most frequently cause accidental deaths. With some knowledge and proper planning, ideally you can avoid these accidents.
According to the United States Fire Administration, fires caused by smoking result in about 450 deaths a year. However, approximately 2,500 deaths from fires are attributed to other causes. These may include candles, ovens, Christmas lights, and faulty electrical wiring. To minimize the risk, be vigilant around flames, make sure your fire alarms are working, keep a fire extinguisher somewhere easily accessible, and store an emergency ladder in an upstairs room.
Hot dogs, grapes, gumballs, marshmallows, apples, balloons, and popcorn are the perfect size to block a child’s airway, making children three years and younger most at risk for choking deaths. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), choking killed 2,500 people in 2009. On the bright side, choking is preventable. To decrease risk, cut up your child’s food into small pieces and monitor them while they are eating, particularly if they are talking, laughing, or yelling. Also remember that kids tend to put everything in their mouths, so making sure they don’t pick up marbles, rocks, or other choking hazards is important. Finally, learn child CPR – it may help you save the life of your child or someone else’s.
Fatal falls aren’t always off of eight-story buildings or cruise ship decks; most of them take place in your own home. Per the NSC, falls killed around 25,000 people in 2009, with people over age 65 at the greatest risk. While children also fall, their falls are much less likely to be fatal, possibly because they are more flexible and their bones are softer.
Accidental poisoning kills about 40,000 people a year, according to the NSC. While children ingesting bleach or bottles full of vitamins do cause fatalities, they are not at the greatest risk for accidental poisoning. The riskiest demographic is young adults between 25 and 44 and most of these deaths involve some form of drug abuse, both with illegal drugs and misuse of prescription drugs.
The CDC reports around 42,000 annual deaths from car accidents, including auto versus pedestrian fatalities. The riskiest age group is also the one that drives with the most distractions: 15–20 year olds. Cell phones, texting, eating, speeding, and lack of seat belts all add to the risk. Driving while impaired, of course, compounds the risk; around one-third of fatal accidents involve alcohol.
Rights of Families
When a loved one is the victim of a fatal accident, his or her family members have rights. If the accident occurs in the work place, for example, family members may qualify for worker’s compensation survivor benefits. If the accident occurs as a result of negligence, such as in an automobile accident or a mistake made in a hospital, a wrongful death suit can be filed. The specifics depend on the state of the occurrence, but may include reparations for medical, hospital, funeral, and burial expenses; loss of future earnings; loss of benefits (such as pension); loss of inheritance; and loss of companionship.
If you or someone you love has fallen victim to an accident, contacting a lawyer who works with accident victims will help you get started in the right direction toward financial recovery.
This article was contributed together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to helping his future clients get the justice they deserve. He writes this on behalf of the Hinkle, Jachimowicz, Pointer & Emanuel law firm in San Jose, CA. With a specialization in cases involving Personal Injury, they are sure to treat you with the highest level of professionalism and integrity to get you what you deserve.