The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office has issued its annual report. The number of deaths due to homicide, pedestrian deaths, and methamphetamine use was higher than in previous years. The statistics show trends based on cause of death findings from 2015. The study offers a summary of deaths in the county.
The study reviews the cause of death in about 8,500 fatalities investigated, which is about half of the total number of annual deaths in the county. The report looked at 3,070 deaths investigated in 2016. Of these, almost half were found to be accidental and included a variety of causes such as overdoses, traffic-related deaths, industrial accidents, and in-home accidents. 33% of the deaths reviewed were found to be from natural causes, 14% were suicides and 4% were homicides.
Traffic Deaths on the Rise
The report found that motor vehicle and pedestrian fatalities are higher than they were the previous year. There were 307 motor vehicle deaths. Pedestrian deaths went up to 101 from the previous year of 93. This number is the highest it has been since 1994, during which time there were 103 deaths.
Traffic-related deaths are up across the country and pedestrian deaths are rising at a higher rate than ever before. Some of the reasons for this could be distracted driving. Distracted driving includes texting or cell phone use while behind the wheel, as well as other in-car disturbances such as eating or talking to passengers.
Distracted walking is becoming a concern because it may be causing pedestrians to get into more accidents with vehicles. Distracted walking typically involves cell phone use or using some other type of handheld electronic device while walking. The use of the device takes the pedestrian’s eyes off where they are walking and in some cases the pedestrian walks directly into traffic or in front of a moving vehicle.
Honolulu, Hawaii recently introduced legislation to make distracted walking a punishable offense. Other states may follow suit. People need to be more aware of their surroundings, particularly when they are walking near busy streets or intersections. Listening to music, talking on a cell phone, texting, or using an app may all be considered distractions because they take the mind off where its attention should be.
Unfortunately, when a pedestrian and car collide, the person on foot is usually seriously injured. A vehicle traveling even at a low speed can cause severe injuries. The most common injuries include contusions, lacerations, broken bones, back injuries and head trauma. In some cases, head trauma can be disabling. These types of injuries may require surgery and other medical treatment as well as rehabilitation. The victim and their family may be entitled to compensation if the accident was caused by negligence on the part of the driver. In that case, the victim may request money for medical expenses, medications, rehabilitation, ongoing and future care and punitive damages such as money for lost wages and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one were hurt in a vehicle accident contact the experienced legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to discuss your case today.