In recent years, according to the Alaska Highway Safety Office, there has been an increase in the number of car accidents involving injury and fatality in the State of Alaska. This increase may reflect an increase in the number of drivers, an increase in reckless or careless vehicle operation, or both. Here are some facts about the number of car accidents in our state:
- In 2012, there were 54 fatal crashes resulting in 59 fatalities altogether. By 2016, that number had risen to 78 fatal crashes and 84 total fatalities. This brought the five-year average for fatal crashes to 61.8 and the average for fatalities to 66.4, an increase of four fatalities per year for the five-year period when compared with 2008-2012.
- At the same time, serious injury crash numbers came down slightly. In 2010, there were 390 crashes recorded with a total of 463 serious injuries. By 2014, this number had decreased to 265 crashes and 301 serious injuries. It is very possible that better safety measures in vehicles, such as airbag improvement, are responsible for this decrease.
- While serious injury crash numbers came down, minor injury crash numbers stayed relatively stable. In 2010, there were 3232 crashes that involved some form of minor injury, with a total of 4566 injuries. By 2014, that number had dropped only somewhat, with 3135 crashes resulting in 4315 injuries.
These numbers tell a story. While vehicles may be improving in safety measures, the number of crashes and fatalities continues to climb, suggesting that reckless driving is still a problem on many of Alaska’s roads and highways.
What Are the Causes of Alaska Car Accidents?
There are many causes of car accidents. In Alaska, everything from a large animal on the road to icy surfaces can cause a crash. However, the most common cause is driver negligence.
The most common reasons cited for Alaska car accidents include:
- Speeding. Speeding still contributes to the majority of fatal or injury-related car accidents nationwide, and Alaska is no exception. This is particularly true when roads are slippery or icy and braking time increases greatly.
- Following too closely. Rear-end collisions make up a surprising number of car accidents. Many drivers simply do not leave enough space between themselves and other vehicles to stop safely if required to do so suddenly.
- Distracted or impaired driving. Impaired drivers still account for nearly 40 percent of all road fatalities, and a growing number of serious accidents are also caused by distracted driving, often due to cell phone use.
What Can I Do When I Am In a Car Accident?
Many people have the idea that if they speak to an attorney about their case, they will be involved in a long and protracted lawsuit. While this does happen at times, only about five percent of all car accident cases are brought to trial. The others are settled between the parties.
However, many of these cases are settled when innocent victims of careless drivers are fooled into low settlements by insurance companies. The average hospital stay after a car accident totals $57,000; this figure rises even more if long-term rehabilitation or care is required. However, victims are routinely offered less than half of that amount by the insurance company to settle their cases..
If you have been injured in a car accident, the best thing you can do for yourself is speak to an attorney with experience in settling car crash cases. At Barber & Associates, we are dedicated to helping our clients receive the maximum amount for their car accident injuries. Give us a call today