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Top 10 States with the Most Car Accidents

Top 10 States with the Most Car Accidents

In the United States, car accidents are not uncommon.

According to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, car accidents occur a lot more frequently than people might think. In 2020, there were 35,766 fatal motor vehicle accidents. Furthermore, 1.6 million crashes were linked to injuries, while 3.6 million were linked to property damage. Cumulatively, that’s close to 5.3 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States on an annual basis!

If you’ve been in an accident, the statistics should make it clear: you’re not alone in dealing with this. We’re here to help. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 for a free consultation with a car accident attorney in our network. The network attorney will be able to evaluate your claims and give you guidance on how to proceed.

Ranking the Most Dangerous States

We’ve gone ahead and collected national traffic data, by which we’ve ranked states based on the number of accidents per 100,000 vehicles. This is annualized data, so all numbers are for a single year. Here’s what the data tells us are the top five most dangerous states in the USA to drive in:

  1. Mississippi — 30.1 accidents per 100,000 vehicles.
  2. South Carolina — 20.7 accidents per 100,000 vehicles.
  3. New Mexico — 20 accidents per 100,000 vehicles.
  4. Louisiana — 18.5 accidents per 100,000 vehicles.
  5. Arkansas — 17.3 accidents per 100,000 vehicles.

For anyone who understands car accident risk factors, this is relatively unsurprising. As a general rule: more rural roadways, combined with a less educated population and lacking public spending on roadway maintenance, leads to a greater risk of car accidents. This is a well-defined phenomenon that can be observed in states and counties throughout the United States.

Which US City Has the Most Car Accidents?

The US city with the most car accidents is Baton Rouge, Louisiana, coming in at 24.9 accidents per year (per 100,000 vehicles). That accident rate is substantially more than most cities. There are a number of reasons as to why the accident rate is so high in Baton Rouge, though experts seem to point to two primary issues: 1) the high numbers of drunk (and drugged) drivers in the city, and 2) the lack of public funds for road maintenance, which has led to a significant deterioration in the quality of the roadways.

Sadly, it doesn’t appear like the trend will reverse anytime soon, as the issues giving rise to the high occurrence of car accidents are not being resolved. Public spending on roadway maintenance continues to be inconsistent at best. And to make matters worse, Louisiana has a high percentage of uninsured drivers, coming in at 11.7%! This means that if you get in an accident in Baton Rouge, there’s a good chance that you’ll be dealing with a difficult compensation scenario.

What Causes the Increased Accident Risk?

There are several factors that industry experts have identified as contributing to a heightened accident risk. These factors are likely to have been involved in making the states and cities we listed among the most dangerous. So let’s explore some of the basics. Risk factors for car accidents include:

  • Low income levels
  • Low education levels
  • Significant numbers of unlicensed drivers
  • Weak regulatory environment
  • Loose enforcement of traffic regulation
  • Inadequate spending on public roadway maintenance
  • Significant rural traffic
  • Low road visibility
  • Unfavorable weather conditions
  • And more

For example, poorly-maintained and poorly-designed rural roads tend to lead to significantly more car accidents due to low visibilitypotholes, and other issues. Further, lax enforcement on rural roads tends to lead to more reckless driving. Thus, more rural states also tend to be strongly associated with heightened accident risks.

How to Secure Compensation from Drivers Who Don’t Have Car Insurance

Across the United States, data shows that 12.6% of drivers (about one in every eight drivers) are uninsured. An even larger number of drivers have “inadequate” insurance to cover all your losses. So what can you do to secure full compensation in situations where the defendant is uninsured or underinsured?

There are a few different strategies that your attorney will likely explore: 1) they will consider the possibility of suing other defendants, who might have also contributed to the accident; 2) they will help you file an uninsured or underinsured claim with your own car insurance policy; 3) they may explore the possibility of bringing in an employer through the vicarious liability principle. In essence, it’s your attorney’s job to develop your legal arguments thoroughly. If it is sensible for your case, they’ll help you sue all the relevant parties. This can minimize the problem of the driver not have sufficient insurance coverage.

Which State Has the Best Drivers?

Out of all the states, Minnesota ranked best, with just 6.1 accidents per year (per 100,000 vehicles). In fact, their drivers are so “effective” at minimizing the risk of accidents, that it’s roughly five times safer to drive in Minnesota than it is to drive in Mississippi. This is despite the fact that Minnesota has dangerous winter roadway conditions that “should” contribute to a higher accident rate.

So why does Minnesota have such a low accident rate? We can only speculate, but it’s likely based off multiple factors: 1) the state spends a substantial amount of public funds (and regulatory attention) on roadway development/maintenance; 2) the state is relatively urbanized despite its moderate population; and 3) the state has high rates of licensure, as well as relatively high education and income levels.

Injured by Someone Who was Driving Under the Influence? Here’s Some Useful Information.

Drunk driving is a serious problem, and the number of accidents linked to drunk driving is alarmingly high. According to the NHTSA, in 2020, there were 11,654 motor vehicle fatalities associated with drunk driving. That’s 32 deaths per day on average. Severe injuries are even more common!

Importantly, if you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, you may actually have some advantages in the lawsuit. See, there are two primary advantages you have: 1) it’s usually a more straightforward process to establish liability, as linking the driver’s impairment to the accident can be much easier, and 2) the court may decide to impose bonus punitive damages. Let’s take a closer look at advantage #2.

Courts have discretion in particularly egregious circumstances to impose punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for their behavior, and to discourage others from doing the same. In the car accident context, punitive damages are sometimes imposed if the defendant was driving under the influence.

Bonus punitive damages can add up to nearly seven times your baseline damages. In other words, a $100,000 case can give rise to $700,000 in punitive damages, for an $800,000 total recovery. That’s significant! Given the potential for such a high recovery, it’s worth exploring the possibility of punitive damages with your attorney.

Contact Los Defensores for a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you could be entitled to significant compensation under the law. However, car accident injury victims often don’t realize that they have legitimate claims. That’s why it’s important to have an attorney evaluate your case and help you figure out next steps.

Call us at 1-800-THE-LAW2 to get connected to an experienced car accident attorney in our network. Consultation is free, and you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your case and whether it’s worth pursuing. Don’t just resign yourself to what happened. Take action. Start by having a conversation with one of our network attorneys.

We look forward to assisting you.

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