West Virginia ranks sixth among states where motor vehicle fatalities are most common at a rate of 17.8 per 100,000 people. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that overall, deaths from automobile accidents have declined significantly in the last three years. This is part of an overall decline that has been ongoing since 1985 and is attributed in part to better safety features and structural design.
However, motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause of death in the United States. Taking pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists into consideration, individuals have about a one in 77 chance of dying in a car crash. This is the same likelihood as death due to a firearm and is slightly higher than the chance of dying in a fall and slightly lower than the chance of dying from suicide or poisoning.
Drivers or passengers in vehicles have a greater chance of dying compared to pedestrians. Among motorcyclists, there is a one in 623 chance and with bicyclists a one in 4,169 chance of dying. It is expected that in the years ahead, crash detection systems, automated driving and other types of technology will make driving even safer.
However, in the meantime, fatal car accidents will continue to occur, and surviving family members of those who have lost their lives will often face severe financial hardships in addition to have to deal with the grief of suddenly losing a loved one. In the event that the accident was caused by a negligent driver, they may want to have the assistance of an attorney in seeking compensation for their losses through a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the at-fault motorist.