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Common Causes of Fatality-Causing Car Accidents

Published on Oct 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm in Car Accidents.

Losing a loved one is never easy; however, the loss can be even harder to cope with if the death was unexpected and preventable. Car accidents injure thousands and take the lives of hundreds in West Virginia each year. In order to deal with the grief and pain associated with the wrongful death, you may benefit from understanding why the accident occurred.

In 2016, there were 250 fatal crashes in West Virginia. As a result, 269 individuals lost their lives. Many of these accidents could have been prevented. As a responsible citizen and driver, it’s important to recognize why these fatal accidents happen, so you can take steps to aid in the prevention of these occurrences.

Contributing Factors in Fatal Car Accidents

The majority of fatal car accidents are caused by human error. There are distinct patterns in these errors. With awareness and caution, many fatal accidents could be prevented in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the common contributing factors in fatal car accidents.


Speeding is one of the primary factors related to fatal car accidents. When a person chooses to drive faster than the posted limit or drives faster than is reasonable for the road conditions, they are putting lives at risk. A speeding vehicle is harder to control, especially around winding roads and sharp curves. Vehicles traveling at high speeds are also considerably more difficult to stop quickly.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving comes in a variety of forms. Because of the technology available at our fingertips, the temptation is always present to pick up a cell phone and send a quick text or fool with the car’s navigation system. When we take our eyes off the road, catastrophic consequences can result in a matter of seconds. Distracted driving also occurs when someone decides to eat while behind the wheel, gets distracted by their passengers, or reaches for objects on the floor.

Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is both incredibly dangerous and illegal. When driving under the influence, your brain does not have the capacity to fully understand it’s surrounding. Reactions times are also significantly decreased. You may also be driving impaired if you are driving while tired. Because of how your brain handles fatigue, you can be just as dangerous behind the wheel tired as you are while drunk.

Inclement Weather

While we cannot control the weather, we can control how we drive in it. Rain, sleet, snow, and ice can create treacherous road conditions. Visibility may be decreased, and the chance of hydroplaning or sliding increases significantly. If you can, it’s always a better idea to rearrange your plans if you know a storm is coming. If you can’t, driving carefully and be aware of your speed in relation to the road conditions.

Breaking Laws

When a driver chooses to disregard the established road laws, they are risking the safety and lives of themselves and the other travelers around them. Commonly broken laws include running red lights, tailgating, wrong-way driving, improper turns, and disregarding construction zone laws.


Age is a factor related to fatal car accidents. Young drivers, 16 to 21, may not have enough experience to recognize what to do in an unsafe situation behind the wheel. They may also be uncertain about laws and procedures because of how new they are to the road. Certain older drivers over the age of 65 are also a risk because their cognitive functions and reaction times may not be as fast as they previously were.

Vehicle Malfunctions

Occasionally, fatal accidents are caused by defective car parts. These defects may be related to the brakes, engine, tires, or any other crucial aspect of the vehicle. In these instances, the manufacturer can often be held liable for the accident and any wrongful deaths.

Our car accident lawyers in West Virginia serve victims and their families in Charleston and the surrounding areas. We’ll do whatever we can to make the compensation process and dealing with the insurance company easier for you, so you and your family can focus on remembering your loved one. Contact us with your legal questions. We’ll provide you with a free case evaluation.