As recently highlighted by The New York Times, research recently published in The Journal of Pediatrics reveals that car accidents remain a top child killer. Specifically, the most common cause of death in children under the age of 15 is unintentional injury, with car accidents being the most common cause of unintentional injury.
Between 2010 and 2014, close to 3,000 children—an average of 11 children per week—died in motor vehicle accidents, and most of them were not wearing seatbelts. Specifically, 43% were not properly restrained; 13% were sitting in the front seat when they should not have been; and 13% were riding in cars driven by intoxicated drivers.
State-to-State Variation and Louisiana
The researchers found considerable variation from state to state when it came to key predictors for injuries and death in these accidents. For example, in one state, a large percentage of the children who died in accidents were wearing their seatbelts, while in another, more than half were not. One factor appeared to be pervasive throughout the United States: 67% of the deaths of children occurred in accidents on rural roads.
In Louisiana, there were 81 deaths (approximately 20%) per 100,000 children due to car accidents, resulting in a mortality rate of 1.76% per 100,000 children per year. Specifically the following circumstances served as key predictors for fatal crashes involving child passengers:
- No use (or misuse) of restraints: 32%
- Being on a rural road: 51%
- Being on a state highway: 51%
Regardless of the variations, one fact is clear from the study: The use of seatbelts is absolutely mandatory if you are traveling with children in your vehicle.
Sadly, sometimes those who lose their children in car accidents can even become defendants in cases: One mother who lost her child in a car crash was sued by the other driver for emotional distress. The trucker involved in the crash with the mother and child made public statements blaming himself for the child’s death, and then proceeded to sue the family for damages associated with the accident.
In general, there are simply too many parents losing their children in auto accidents. While many accidents are linked to negligent driving and mistakes, it is inherently negligent, as well as illegal, to fail to use a seatbelt with a child and/or to drive under the influence. This type of behavior can not only carry criminal charges, but open the door to additional civil remedies associated with personal injury lawsuits, as well.
Vehicle Accident Attorneys Serving Louisiana
The auto and car accident attorneys at Harrell & Nowak have helped many victims in New Orleans, Kenner, Metairie, and throughout Louisiana obtain financial compensation for their injuries. These motor vehicle accidents can cause serious spinal cord, traumatic brain, and other types of personal injury. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident, contact us today to find out how we can help.