The sudden, inexplicable serious injury or wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident can be very difficult on both the injured person and his or her family. Families often have no opportunity to prepare themselves emotionally, have limited experience with such catastrophic events, and are overwhelmed by the magnitude of their loved one’s injuries.
While no amount of money can rewind the event that changed your life, our lawyers firmly believe that holding the negligent party responsible for the wrongful death of your loved one and forcing the payment of financial compensation to your family may provide the sense of closure needed to move forward.
In our practice, every wrongful death case in Ontario is different – however there are several leading and common causes of accident related fatalities that are certainly worth noting – some of which are quite interesting.
CNN reported in 2018 that traffic-related accidents are the 8th most common cause of death around the planet – higher than HIV, AIDS and TB as statistical fatality. Young people suffer the youngest statistical fatality, up to and including those 29 years old and under. Motor vehicle accidents account for the leading cause of death around the world for this specific age group.
Over 2700 people die in car crashes in Canada every year – with a significant amount being from Ontario… but how does it break down?
In 2016, there were approximately 35,972 accidents on Ontario alone – with just under 500 deaths involved. Seniors citizen (65+) was by far the largest age group of traffic fatalities with a total of 446 deaths, the next being ages 25 to 35, with a total of 321 deaths. Actual drivers of vehicle were by far the most killed on our roadways, followed by passengers, then pedestrians, motorcyclists then bicyclists. Most traffic fatalities (over 3/4) occurred in urban areas and during the summer months!
Drinking and Impaired Driving
Did you know that impaired driving has been an offence since 1921? Although statistics have improved over the past several decades, driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs remains one of the most prominent factors contributing to serious car accidents. Statistically, most impaired drivers that cause fatality related accidents are males (80%) and between the ages of 20 and 24. Alcohol, or drugs sch as cannabis, can no doubt affect your coordination and how you react in a motor vehicle – and are still road killers.
A significant amount of car accidents are caused by drivers that suffer medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, poor vision etc. If a negligent driver has a medical diagnosis that requires medication and does not take that medication, this could certainly have an effect on liability.
For example, in a case in California several years ago, a driver was hired by a very popular pizza franchise to deliver pizza. That driver caused a major car accident that killed a young woman and catastrophically injured another. The pizza franchise knowingly hired but failed to discuss with the driver whether or not he suffered a medical condition that affected his driving. That driver took medication that made him drowsy and unfortunately he caused an accident that ruined a young girl’s life. Both the driver and the pizza franchise were held liable for the young girl’s terrible injuries caused in the car accident.
A driver can no doubt be found liable for an accident is that driver is supposed to take medication and doesn’t, takes medication at the wrong time, takes too much medication, takes the wrong medication, or doesn’t wear his or her required glasses.
Drivers that Fail to Maintain their Vehicles
Drivers are required to maintain their vehicles to be mechanically fit and safe while driving on our roadways. If it’s found that a car accident is caused due to bald tires, bad breaks, or any type of other mechanical malfunction that could have been taking care of sooner, both the driver and the owner of the car can be found liable. It is the car’s owner’s responsibility to maintain his or her vehicle.
Distracted Driving Collisions
Inattentive driving has surpassed impaired driving as the leading killer on Ontario’s roads. The OPP made it clear earlier this year that distracted drivers were behind more fatal collisions in Ontario than impaired drivers. Distracted driving can be anything from eating, drinking, programming a navigation device, checking the google maps on your phone, brushing your hair – or most commonly – using a smart phone while driving. Too many Ontario drivers think they can successfully multitask on their smartphones while they maneuver a 4,000-pound car – which unfortunately leads to too many Ontario car accidents.
Running Stop Signs and Red Lights
This one is obvious. In our practice many, if not most serious car accidents are caused by drivers not obeying stop signs or running red lights. Many of these crashes, when drivers fail to stop at a stop sign or red light end up involving left turns. In fact, almost 40% of all accidents in the United States involve left turn accidents when drivers fail to obey traffic signals. These types of accidents can no doubt cause and brutal catastrophic injuries especially if the driver or passenger in a car is hit by not fault driver at high speed.
Speed Related Collisions
Illegal street racing and related stunt driving has been consistently linked to the increased risk of fatal car accidents in Ontario. Based upon any number of studies done by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation over the years, speed is always a determinant and critical factor in many fatal crashes – mostly on congested urban roadways. As the speed of the vehicle increases, so does the risk of a crash and the risk of fatality. Ontario law has long been clear that drivers that drive over 50 km/h the posted speed limit are considered to be performing a stunt and are subject to harsh penalties:
Drivers/Passengers not Wearing Seat-belts
For the past 15 years the Province has publicized that seat belts, worn correctly, can reduce the chance of dying in a car accident by up to 47%! Luckily, the efforts of OPP, local police and other road safety advocates and educational methods have been highly instrumental in raising seat-belt safety awareness in Ontario over the past 25 years. It’s estimated that 96% of drivers in Ontario now wear seat-belts (compared to only 78.1% in the Yukon). A large portion of road fatalities, both driver and passenger, are still however linked to individuals not wearing a seat-belt restraints from 78 in 2012, 45 in 2016.
Side Impact Car Accidents/T-Bone Car Accidents
Allstate insurance reported that, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US, that approximately 27% of all car accidents are caused by T-bone type collisions. T-bone crashes normally, in all circumstances, happen when an at-fault driver fails to stop at a red light, or stop sign, enters an intersection and smashes into a vehicle that has the right of way. The accident often leaves cracks and victims with very serious injuries, such as
Crossing a Divided Highway
Many highway accidents, in particular accidents in northern Ontario, happen on two lane roads. These types of car accidents happen when a driver crosses the road into the oncoming path of another vehicle, causing a head on collision. Head-on collisions often result in life changing injuries, and in most circumstances death.
Driving Impaired by Fatigue
This factor is big for truckers that cause car accidents. The province has estimated that close to 20% of fatal accidents are caused by fatigued drivers. If you’re tired and traveling, please pullover and reduce the probability of a car accident. there is no doubt that driving while tired impairs reaction time and judgment. Some of the signs of needing a rest while driving are:
For truckers especially, taking deserved breaks from driving could lower the risk of fatigue related car accidents – and save lives. Truckers at time, will try to push their own limits and tolerance by trying to stay awake – sometimes at the cost of endangering other motorists.
Vulnerable Road Users and Car Accidents
Motorcycle and scooter accidents, at-fault or not, are the cause of up to 10% of motor vehicle related deaths in the Province. 2017 was an all-time high, with 48 deaths reports, with almost half of the fatalities not being at-fault. Contributing factors to motorcycle accidents were reported to be distracted driving (motorcyclists hit by motorists using their phones) drug impairment, alcohol impairment, excessive speeding, and improper turns.
Aggressive Driving Related Crashes
Drivers that not only speed – but drivers that try to beat red lights, tail-gait unnecessarily, weave through traffic and fail to yield the right of way to oncoming drivers are among some of the reported behaviors which has reportedly caused fatal accidents in Ontario. Most car accidents caused by aggressive driving are caused by drivers who are between 16 and 24 years of age, alcohol and accidents on urban roads – with most accidents occurring in intersections (40% of all intersection fatality accidents involve a driver failing to yield the right of way or disobeying a traffic sign or signal!)
If a loved one has suffered life-changing injuries in a car accident as a result of the negligence of an individual or company, take the time to talk to learn your rights. Our law firm understands that the terrible injuries or the sudden death of a loved one can tear a family apart and cause in-explainable grief. We understand that you will have many unanswered questions.
We understand that the financial struggle for a family can take hold right away and as many find out – the true cost of a can be economically devastating. We understand what you’re going through. The law and procedures surrounding wrongful death claims are very complicated. We will explain your rights and responsibilities and help you determine the best course of action for you and your family.
Taking legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind, but it is vital that you educate and inform yourself of your legal options. Call us 24/7 at 905-333-8888 or chat with out live website operator 24/7. Alternatively, you can fill out a contact form through our website and someone from our office will get back to you within 24 hours.