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What is the financial cost of fatal accidents on Louisiana roads?

Every year in the United States, more than 30,000 people lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents. Crashes involving motor vehicles are among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. for people aged 54 and younger. In Louisiana, almost 750 people are killed annually in fatal road and highway accidents.

These crashes are devastating for the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. They also take a significant financial toll on the nation and on our state. Fatal traffic accidents caused $44 billion in work loss and medical costs nationwide in 2013. Louisiana's share of the total was $1.01 billion. This consisted of $998 million in work loss and $8 million in medical costs in the state.

The deaths of young adults ages 20-34 accounted for $471 million of the losses, the largest share of the total in Louisiana. Deaths of adults ages 35-65 were the next highest share, at $394 million. Teenage deaths (ages 15-19) accounted for $80 million of the total; child deaths, $37 million, and adults 65 and over, $24 million.

The financial costs of a fatal accident are felt most painfully at the family level. When a family member is killed in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, the family can face significant funeral and final medical expenses. If the victim was a provider for the family, the loss of his or her income can be financially devastating.

If the fatal accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, the family has the right to seek compensation for these losses through a wrongful death lawsuit. In addition, they can recover for the loss of the victim's, care, comfort and companionship. A financial recovery will never bring back a lost loved one, but it can help relieve the family's suffering.

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, "Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths: Costly but Preventable: Louisiana," accessed June 12, 2016

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