While the world is trying to close the gender gaps between men and women, there is a fatal gap in car accidents. In 2019, it was found that men are more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than their female counterparts.
When severe car accidents occur and result in serious injury or death, the driver who caused the accident can be held liable. The injured person, or the deceased’s family, may recover damages from the defendant.
The Disproportionate Effects of Car Accidents
In 2019, males made up 71 percent of all motor vehicle accident deaths. From 1975 to 2019, male passenger deaths decreased 56 percent compared to 41 percent among females.
Age seemed to impact the disparity between gender mortality rates. The largest disparity between male and female accident deaths arose in drivers aged 20-29 before becoming much closer for those over 30. Overall, the death rates were substantially higher for males ages 16-29 during 2016-2017.
2019 saw a much higher rate of death in the age group of 0-15 years old for male passengers than female. The highest death rate for male passengers was in the 85 and up age group, followed by those 80-84 years old, and then the 20-24-year-old group.
The Driving Force Behind the Disparities
Generally, females are better drivers than their male counterparts and engage in much less risky behavior when behind the wheel. Drunk driving and speeding are more common in male drivers than female drivers.
How to Recover for Deadly Accidents
When a person is killed in a car accident, the law allows the family an opportunity to hold the defendant responsible. Whether the victim is in another car or the passenger of the vehicle that caused the crash, they can recover for the defendant’s negligence or intentional actions.
A wrongful death lawsuit may arise out of the defendant’s negligent acts. To establish negligence, the plaintiff must prove the defendant owed a duty to the deceased, breached their duty, the breach caused the victim’s death, and damages arose as a result of the death.
A driver has a duty to act in a manner that avoids causing harm to others in their vehicle and other vehicles or pedestrians on the road. When the driver unreasonably handles their car and causes an injury or death, they breach their duty. Some examples of unreasonable driving include, but are not limited to:
- Talking on the phone
- Running a stop sign or light
- Failure to pay attention to the road
Once the plaintiff proves the defendant’s breach, they must establish the driver’s actions caused the death of their loved one. After the plaintiff proves the defendant’s actions are the sole cause of the victim’s death, they may recover damages.
The plaintiff may also hold the defendant responsible for the death caused by their intentional action. To establish liability for an intentional tort, the plaintiff must prove the defendant intended to act in the manner they did. There is no requirement the defendant acted with the intention of killing the victim.
Once the defendant’s actions are proven to be intentional, they are liable if their actions caused the victim’s death. The plaintiff may only recover damages when the victim’s death resulted in damages.
Damages Available to The Plaintiff
When a car accident causes a death, the family may bring a lawsuit on behalf of the victim and for wrongful death. Depending on whether the death was immediate or the victim lived for a while, the family is eligible to recover various damages. “While no damages replace the love of a family member,” Ted Kaplun says, “families are entitled to hold the defendant responsible for their actions.”
The first category of damages the family may recover cover any period the victim lived between the accident and their eventual death. The family may recover for the victim’s pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral and burial expenses.
Next, the defendant is responsible for the damages suffered by the family from the loss of their loved one. Generally, these damages compensate the family for their financial loss and loss of the loved one’s services, including guidance, emotional support, and help around the house.
The Gender Gap with an Easy Fix
While accidents happen, the disparity in male deaths compared to female deaths in car accidents needs to be addressed. Concentrating on safer driving practices, particularly with males, can help reduce the number of families losing a loved one. Those families may take some comfort knowing the legal system allows them to hold the defendant responsible.