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Increase in death rate during Thanksgiving

As families in West Virginia and the rest of the country look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday, they may not be aware that it may be the country's deadliest holiday. Medical professionals have known that the mortality rate in the United States tends to peak near Thanksgiving and stay high throughout the winter season. The two main reasons for the high mortality rate are vehicle accidents and heart trouble.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is no other holiday that has more fatal vehicle accidents. In 2012, 764 fatal crashes occurred during Thanksgiving compared to 654 accidents during Christmas. Many of the crashes are preventable. At least 40 percent of the passenger deaths during Thanksgiving in 2012 were caused by drunk drivers. Around 60 percent of passengers failed to use their seat belts.

In anticipation of an upcoming winter storm, the NHTSA recently issued a statement advising drivers to ensure that their windshield wipers were operating properly and their tires were sufficiently inflated. The agency also advised drivers to plan their routes.

The occurrences of heart attacks also increase during Thanksgiving. An examination of death certificates from the 1980s to the 1990s in Los Angeles County show that 33 percent more deaths related to heart complications occurred during the winter than the summer. Each year, the rate spiked during Thanksgiving. The causes of coronary-related deaths during Thanksgiving may due to the increased consumption of salt, food and alcohol that occurs. Other contributions may include psychological and emotional stresses associated with the holiday.

An individual who incurs an injury as a result of the negligent driving of another individual may have legal recourse. A personal injury attorney may work to obtain compensation from the responsible party to help pay for a client's medical expenses or lost wages by helping his or her client file a lawsuit.

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