The 2017 National Safety Council annual Injury Facts report shows accidental deaths caused by unintentional injuries now rank as the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. More than 146,500 people died from unintentional injuries, increasing by nearly 8 percent, in 2015. Forbes magazine reports that overall death rates have decreased 19 percent since 1992 but unintentional deaths have increased 27 percent.
Personal injury cases cost the American population $886.4 billion in 2015, through out-of-pocket costs, higher taxes and more costly goods and services. Personal injury lawsuits are common for incidents ranging from medical malpractice to motor vehicle accidents. A personal injury may also be sustained from incidents such as:
- Defective prescription medications
- Faulty products
- Job-related injuries
- Premises threats
- Nursing home abuse
Even people who use safe practices in their daily lives may be victims of a personal injury
Reasons for Personal Injury Increases
While incidents such as drug overdoses are included as factors in the increase in the new report, reasons ranging from lack of sleep to more drivers on the road are also contributors. For the first time, the report has included a category highlighting fatigue as a cause of injuries and preventable deaths in the United States. According to the 2017 edition, a short sleep duration is more prevalent than ever.
Workers in healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing are most likely to get inadequate sleep every night. Sleep-deprived workers are 1.62 times more likely to be injured, and 13 percent of work injuries are attributed to sleep deprivation, according to Forbes magazine.
Safety and Health magazine reports that workers who get seven hours of sleep a night or less are more likely to be involved in a work-related injury.
Consider these statistics:
- Of workers getting between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, there are on average 2.95 injury incidences per 100 workers
- Of workers getting between six to seven hours of sleep per night, there are on average 3.62 injury incidences per 100 workers
- Of workers getting between five to six hours of sleep per night, there are on average 5.21 injury incidences per 100 workers
- Of workers getting less than five hours of sleep per night, there are on average 7.89 injury incidences per 100 workers
The professionals most at risk from sleep deprivation are often also operating heavy machinery or are administering medical attention to patients.
Sleep deprivation has negative effects on cognition, according to a sleep deprivation study published by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, including impaired visuomotor performance. It’s important for drivers to be especially aware of other drivers at night-time to avoid an accident caused by sleep deprivation. If you are receiving services from someone who appears sleep-deprived, such as a doctor, voice your concerns.
In addition to increased pervasiveness of sleep-deprived workers, distracted driving on the road is more common. An increase in drivers and vehicles on the road, as well as an increase in miles driven, has led to 4.3 million medically consulted driver-related injuries in 2015. More than 37,700 vehicle-related fatalities occurred, a 7 percent increase, Forbes reports. Fatal crash increases occurred in categories involving young drivers, drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, motorcycle riding and pedestrian accidents.
Technology in cars is contributing to unsafe driving habits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports distracted driving claimed nearly 3,500 lives in 2015, and the number is expected to continue to increase as more drivers use smartphones and navigation technology in cars. Reading a text message is enough to take a driver’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds, which can mean running into a pedestrian or another car.
What to Do If You’re a Personal Injury Victim
If you experience the unfortunate circumstances of sustaining a personal injury because of a professional, good or service that is negligent, it is vital to consult with an attorney. There are many laws in place to prevent risky behaviors, such as distracted driving while texting behind the wheel or using machinery while fatigued. Not only may there be an individual at fault, but an employer may be guilty in allowing unsafe behaviors that could harm you or a loved one.
A personal injury lawyer will be able to evaluate your case to determine reckless behavior and help you to attain compensation for your physical injuries, as well as emotional distress and other consequences that may affect your professional or personal life. Many incidents that may seem “accidental” are quite the opposite, and you are entitled to remuneration for what you experience.