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Rising numbers of fatalities from car accidents

The potential causes of roadway collisions and crashes are almost too numerous to count. Some accidents are attributable to weather or road conditions. Others are due to driver error, negligence and recklessness. And still others relate to the numbers of people on the roadway and how well those roads are designed to handle that amount of traffic. Regardless of the cause, however, car accidents are often traumatic, devastating and costly.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released data showing that traffic fatalities increased by 5.5 percent in 2012. This increase comes after a six-year decline in the number of deaths caused by car crashes. Some researchers believe that the rise in fatalities correlates with the improving economy: as fewer people are unemployed, more people are out on the roadways traveling to and from work. Other factors deemed to be contributing to the rise is the fact that North Carolina is a desirable place to live and more people are relocating to the state's big cities. Researchers expect the rise in fatalities to continue to increase, especially as development moves outward from city centers into rural areas containing roadways not designed for high traffic demands.

Car accidents have can both immediate and long-term effects. In the short term, there are often critical or serious injuries to attend to and property damage to deal with. In the long term, there are the lingering financial effects of the crash, as well as the sometimes lengthy and often difficult road to physical recovery. The costs of an accident can reach far beyond immediate medical expenses and vehicle replacement. In many cases, there is a significant loss of income during recovery periods, as well as costs related to long-term care or rehabilitation.

When another driver is at fault for the accident that resulted in the injuries and damages suffered, that driver can be held legally responsible for the damages caused in a personal injury lawsuit. Sources of compensation can include the driver's insurance policy and/or the vehicle owner's insurance policy (sometimes these are different), as well as uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Although the elements of a personal injury lawsuit are sometimes complex, the assistance of an attorney can simplify the process. In addition, if police makes findings of fault by issuing citations or making arrests, this is powerful evidence of liability.

Source: WUNC, "Traffic Fatalities Rise; Trend Likely To Continue," Eric Mennel, Dec. 9, 2013

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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