Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to spend more time inside for the better part of a year and a half, motor vehicle accidents have surprisingly surged. A few months ago, the National Safety Council reported that 42,060 Americans were estimated to have died in motor vehicle accidents during 2020.
That’s a dramatic 8% accident increase from the previous year, so what happened? How could there be more road fatalities amid more stringent stay-at-home orders and fewer drivers on the road? A representative for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said to NPR that it’s “too soon” to infer the causes behind this rise. Still, it’s possible that the pandemic’s exacerbation of behavioral and substance use issues could be contributing factors.
Regardless, keep reading to learn more about this accident influx, and how a Downey car accident attorney can help if you find yourself in such an accident.
Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics
Besides the 8% accident influx since 2019, the National Safety Council also found some other sobering, alarming statistics related to the rise in motor vehicle crashes:
- Although it was an 8% increase in accidents since 2019, it was also a 24% fatality increase since 2019.
- 2020 marked the highest motor vehicle death rate in 13 years and the highest motor vehicle death rate jump in 96 years.
- An additional 4.8 million motorists were estimated to suffer nonfatal (but serious nevertheless) accident injuries.
- These accidents were estimated to cost around $474 billion USD in 2020 alone.
- All of the above occurred despite a 13% decrease in miles driven.
That NSC report didn’t just spell out bad news. Some states experienced marked declines in motor vehicle fatalities despite the overall nationwide rise, with the three most notable among them being Hawaii (-20%), Wyoming (-13%), and Delaware (-11%).
Still, many other states found themselves at the forefront of marked rises in accident fatalities, with seven (plus the District of Columbia) experiencing a 15%+ increase in motor vehicle deaths:
- Georgia (+18%)
- Mississippi (+19%)
- Connecticut (+22%)
- Arkansas + Rhode Island (both +26%)
- Vermont (+32%)
- South Dakota + Washington D.C. (both +33%)
It’s quite an increase to behold, and one which more motorists and public safety officials should be more aware of. But what should you do if you ever find yourself entangled in such an accident?
What To Do After A Motor Vehicle Accident
Regardless of whether you drive or are a motorcyclist, there are a few basic steps that you should always follow in the wake of a car accident:
- If possible, pull yourself and/or your vehicle to the side of the road. You’ll want to do everything within your power to prevent further harm to yourself, other motorists, or any loved ones present at the accident scene.
- Call 9-1-1 to send appropriate first responders to the scene. If you are unconscious or physically incapacitated by the accident, then the responsibility to call them falls on the person at fault for the accident.
- Obtain license plates, VINs, police reports, insurance info, and all relevant contact information from all parties if possible, including secondhand witnesses. If you couldn’t speak to the responding officer, you can usually retroactively request a copy of your report from the department.
- If possible, take written notes, video, and photographic documentation of the accident scene.
- Notify your insurer ASAP and seek appropriate medical attention ASAP.
The “if possible” disclaimer cannot be stressed enough. Safety should be your first and foremost priority, and you shouldn’t attempt anything that you worry would risk your health and safety further.
When all of that is said and done, though, you should get in contact with a trustworthy attorney ASAP. Since California is a comparative negligence state, a bad faith lawyer could deem you partially at fault for the accident, making the need for robust, bulletproof legal counsel all the more critical.
Don’t hesitate to act, and don’t hesitate to fight for the compensation you deserve with an experience personal injury attorney.