Shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic kept millions of Americans at home and off the roads for extended periods in 2020. Americans drove much less, and there were fewer cars on the streets and highways. Sadly, there was no corresponding decrease in traffic fatalities, which increased significantly.
According to preliminary estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 38,680 people died in car accidents and other motor vehicle crashes in 2020. That’s a 7.2 increase from 2019, when 36,096 fatalities were reported. It is also the largest projected number of traffic fatalities since 2007.
What caused this increase? The NHTSA cited drivers engaging in risky driving behavior on roads that were less congested – behaviors such as speeding, failing to wear seat belts and driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Dr. Steven Cliff, the acting administrator of the NHTSA, said the agency would take steps to address the problem.
“Safety is the top priority for the U.S. Department of Transportation. Loss of life is unacceptable on our nation’s roadways and everyone has a role to play in ensuring that they are safe. We intend to use all available tools to reverse these trends and reduce traffic fatalities and injuries,” he said.
Getting justice after a fatal crash
People are killed every year in crashes on roads throughout Indiana. A fatal traffic accident can happen in seconds but can impact others for the rest of their lives. Family members and friends of victims are left to grieve a sudden and senseless loss. If the victim was a provider, families also suffer a loss of income and may struggle financially.
If a negligent driver caused an accident that took the life of a loved one, family members are entitled to financial compensation for their loss. Nothing can replace their loved one, but compensation can help them get a sense of justice and hold negligent drivers accountable for what happened.
Recovering compensation can be complicated process, however. Negligent drivers typically don’t admit to doing anything wrong. They may refuse to accept any responsibility and may even claim that the person who died was responsible for causing the crash.
An experienced lawyer can make a difference
That’s why it’s important to have experienced legal representation. Vaughan & Vaughan has been fighting for the people Indiana since our founding in 1913. We know the impact the loss of a loved one in a crash can have on families. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to building strong cases and helping clients get the results they need.
Family members may be able to recover:
- Compensation for their loved one’s medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of their loved one’s financial resources and benefits
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering
If you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle crash, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. In Indiana, the statute of limitations for taking legal action is two years from the date of your loved one’s accident. Evidence can be lost or destroyed, however, as time goes by, and the memories of witnesses can fade.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options. We have offices in Lafayette, Indianapolis, Carmel, Muncie, Anderson and Kokomo.