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What Are the Odds of Being Injured in a Car Crash?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Last updated February 5, 2024

More than two million people are injured in car crashes in the United States every year. US Census data shows that your chances of getting into a car accident are one in 366 for every 1,000 miles driven.

Your odds of being injured in a car crash will depend on your age, where you live, how many miles you travel, the type of vehicle you drive, and many other factors. Motor vehicle accidents were responsible for the deaths of nearly 43,000 Americans in 2021, equal to about 117 people every day. The government says that our crash death rate is more than twice as high as the average of other high-income countries.

 If you have been injured or a close relative died because of a car crash, our team of California car accident attorneys can help you hold the at-fault party responsible. 

Data on Injuries Treated at the Emergency Room

We do not have reliable statistics on the number of people who receive minor injuries that do not require a visit to the doctor or emergency room. The data we have is based on the national averages. Even within our state, your likelihood of getting hurt in a collision will depend on whether you are driving an urban or rural location, as well as other factors like the weather and road conditions. 

According to the CDC, more than 2,500,000 of us got treated at the emergency room in 2012 for injuries from a motor vehicle accident. Almost 200,000 of those emergency room visits resulted in hospital admissions. 

It costs around $3,300 on average for a car collision emergency room visit. Getting hospitalized for these injuries averages around $57,000. For every fatality in a motor vehicle accident, eight people receive inpatient treatment at a hospital, while 100 other people get treated in the emergency room and released to go home. 

Accidental Death Numbers

The CDC reports that 37,559 Americans lost their lives in 2019 due to motor vehicle accidents. This is a death rate of 11.5 per 100,000 population. 

In 2019, the total number of unintentional injury deaths was 173,040. The total accidental injury mortality was 52.7 people per 100,000 population. Unintentional injuries are the third most common cause of death in our country. 

Motor Vehicle Injuries by Age

The government compiles data on the top ten causes of injuries that result in visits to the emergency room. These injuries are non-fatal and unintentional, in other words, accidental. For children from the date of birth through age 4, injuries from car crashes are not on the top ten list. Between the ages of five and nine, car accidents are the number 7 cause of trips to the emergency room.  

Between the ages of turned 14, calculations are #5 on the list. Car collisions are the number 3 cause of ER visits for people in the age group of 15 to 24. But the group with the highest ranking of car crashes causing ER visits are those between ages 25 and 34, for whom this cause is second only to unintentional falls. 

For people between 35 and 40 years of age, collisions drop to #5 on the list. Between 45 and 64, crashes fault and #6 on the list. At the age of 65 and older, these accidents go back up the list to number 4. Average for all ages, motor vehicle collisions are the third leading cause of non-fatal accidental injuries that lead to emergency room visits. 

What Can You Do To Avoid Being Injured In A Car Accident?

Preventing injuries in a car accident often starts with proactive steps. Here are some measures you can take:

  1. Wear Your Seatbelt: Seatbelts are designed to protect you in a collision by reducing the force of an impact. They can prevent you from being ejected from the vehicle or colliding with the windshield or dashboard.
  2. Follow Traffic Rules: Obeying the speed limit, stopping at red lights, yielding to pedestrians, and following other traffic laws can significantly reduce your risk of an accident.
  3. Stay Focused on the Road: Avoid distractions such as mobile phones, eating, adjusting the radio, or other activities that can divert your attention from driving.
  4. Don’t Drive Under the Influence: Alcohol and drugs can impair your ability to drive safely. It’s not just illegal, but it’s also extremely dangerous.
  5. Maintain Your Vehicle: Regular car maintenance is essential. This includes checking your tires, brakes, lights, windshield wipers, and other essential components to ensure they’re functioning properly.
  6. Use Safety Features and Technology: Modern cars often come equipped with advanced safety features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) like lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control. Use them to your advantage.
  7. Drive Defensively: Anticipate potential hazards and other drivers’ actions. Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you, be aware of blind spots, and always use your turn signals when changing lanes or turning.
  8. Drive According to Weather Conditions: Inclement weather like rain, snow, fog, or ice can make driving more dangerous. Slow down, increase your following distance, and use your car’s lights to improve visibility.
  9. Properly Install and Use Child Car Seats: If you’re traveling with young children, make sure you have the right car seat for their age, weight, and height, and that it’s installed correctly.
  10. Get Adequate Rest Before Driving: Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. Ensure you’re well-rested before getting behind the wheel, especially for long trips.

While these steps can significantly reduce your risk of injury in a car accident, they can’t eliminate it completely. Accidents can still happen, so it’s important to have appropriate car insurance and to know what to do in the event of an accident.

Contact A Car Crash Attorney Today

California personal injury attorney can protect your legal rights if you got hurt in a car accident. You only have a limited time to pursue a claim or lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you will lose the ability to go after compensation for your losses. Get in touch with our office today.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.