The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its annual car accident statistics and fatalities report and the country again experienced an increase in fatal motor vehicle crashes from the prior year’s numbers.

According to the report, which uses data collected from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there were 37,461 people killed in vehicle accidents in 2016. This was just under a 6 percent increase from 2015, in which 35,485 victims were killed.

Fatal Car Crashes in 2016

Some of the statistics cited in the NHTSA report includes:

  • Passenger car occupant fatalities: The number of victims killed in passenger vehicles increased by 651 fatalities. This is the highest number of victim since 2008;
  • SUV occupant fatalities: The number of victims killed in SUVs also increased, with 219 more lives claimed than the previous year;
  • Van occupant fatalities: The number of victims killed in vans increased by almost 10 percent in 2016, with an additional 95 victims killed over 2015;
  • Pickup truck occupant fatalities: The number of victims in pickup trucks increased by 68 more victims killed over the previous year;
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities: There were 257 more motorcyclists killed in 2016 than there were in 2015. Just like passenger car occupant fatalities, the number of motorcycle accident fatalities was the highest it’s been since 2008;
  • Large truck accident fatalities: There were 107 more victims killed in truck accidents in 2016 than the previous year, an increase of almost 10 percent;
  • Pedestrian fatalities: Despite all the media attention and attempts to decrease the number of pedestrian accident deaths, 2016 saw an alarming 10 percent increase in the number of pedestrians killed, with an additional 492 fatalities;
  • Bicycle accident fatalities: There were 11 more bicyclists killed in 2016 than in 2015, making last year the deadliest for bicycle accident victims since 1991.
  • Alcohol-related crash fatalities: Just as all other crash fatalities for 2016, the number of DUI crash fatalities increased from the year before, claiming the lives of an additional 177 victims.

Wrongful Death

Any time a family loses a loved one is a difficult time, but when the death is caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness, that loss can feel even more devastating. Many families of fatal car crash victims choose to pursue wrongful death claims against the person responsible.

Our Virginia law firm has successfully represented many victims’ families and understand that although no amount of money will ever make up for the loss of a loved one, many families are faced with overwhelming financial burdens, such as funeral and burial expenses, emergency medical care expenses, and loss of the income their loved one provided. A wrongful death claim can help alleviate those financial burdens.

If you have lost a family member in a fatal car crash, contact a Virginia wrongful death attorney to discuss what legal recourse you may have against the responsible party. It is important to know that even if there have been criminal charges filed, any civil actions are completely separate from those proceedings. Families should also be aware that there is a statute of limitations that restricts how long survivors have to file a wrongful death claim, so it is critical to contact a Va. injury attorney right away.