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Accidental Deaths on the Rise in the United States

Every year, more than 120,000 Americans die from accidental injuries. This number includes motor vehicles accidents, pedestrian accidents, aviation accidents, falls and many more.

The number of deaths should be a wakeup call for state and federal regulators to focus on establishing better safety laws, increasing inspections of all forms of transportation and educating people.

Since 1980, the number of deadly highway accidents has decreased, going from 50,000 to 30,000. However, accidental deaths have been on the rise. In 1999, the death toll from unintentional injury was at 98,000.

The leading causes of accidental death include drug poisoning, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and firearms.

Many of these accidental deaths could have been avoided.

One in every five motorist will be involved in an accident this year, and many motor vehicles could have been prevented and often occur due to driver errors such as inattention, talking on the phone, too many people in the car, changing the radio, reading while driving and numerous other causes. Of the over 30,000 people that die every year in car accidents, over half could have been saved if they were wearing a seat belt, and 80% of children could have been saved if they had been properly secured in a child safety seat.

Prescription pills are the leading cause of accidental deaths, and in the United States one third of Americans take two or more prescription drugs. In fact, more people die from pain relievers such as OxyContin and Vicodin than cocaine and heroin combined. These deaths often result from unintentional overdose, or mixing prescription pills.

Other preventative measures against accidental deaths include simple things such as always wearing a helmet on a bike or motorcycle, childproof caps on medication bottles or putting a fence around a swimming pool.

However, not all injuries can be prevented. If you or someone in your family has been injured by the negligence of others, please contact us.

Source: The New York Times Magazine, "The Dead Don't Lie," Oct. 28, 2012.

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