5 Leading Causes of Injury Deaths in California

Every Californian should be mindful of personal safety and maintain situational awareness at all times; serious injuries occur every day for many unpredictable reasons and some victims do not survive their injuries. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) collates and reports accident and injury data from across California.

Most Common Injury Deaths in California

In 2016, the CDPH narrowed down the top five causes of injury deaths in the state.

  • 7% of accidental injury deaths occurred due to unspecified motor vehicle traffic accidents.
  • 2% resulted from intentional violent crimes like homicide and assault.
  • 6% of accidental injury deaths happened from falls.
  • 9% of injury deaths occurred from suicide and self-harm.
  • 1% of all injury-related deaths in California for 2016 were “unintentional poisoning,” most often referring to death by drug overdose.

Knowing the most common causes of injury deaths in California can help prevent you and your loved ones from sustaining similar injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report more than 200,000 deaths from injuries every year with a total annual economic cost of about $671 billion.

Opioids in California

The available federal data concerning opioid abuse in California indicates that California has a relatively lower problem with opioid abuse than most of the rest of the country. In 2016, there were 2,012 opioid-related deaths in California at a rate of 4.9 per 100,000 residents, far below the national average of 13.3 per 100,000. However, this rate remained the same since 2012 but the number of heroin deaths increased from 362 to 587 and synthetic opioid deaths increased from 146 to 355. There are more than 45 million opioid painkiller prescriptions written in California each year. Patients should be extremely careful and speak to their prescribing doctors extensively about the risks of addiction with opioids.

Fatal Falls and Traffic Accidents

Falls account for more than eight million emergency room visits each year and one of the most common types of occupational injuries. Falls can occur from people bumping into one another on the street, defective structures or other hazards on a property, dangerous workplace conditions, and many more possible causes. When an individual suffers fatal injuries from a fall, his or her surviving loved ones may have grounds for a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for causing a fall.

It may also be possible to take legal action after a fatal traffic accident. Car crashes can easily cause severe bone fractures, internal organ injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and many other types of severe injuries. These wounds not only have the potential to cause permanent disabilities but also fatalities. If a driver dies from injuries sustained in a car accident, his or her surviving loved ones or personal representative may have the chance to pursue a wrongful death claim against the driver liable for the crash.

Deaths From Intentional Torts

An intentional tort is any injurious action inflicted upon another person intentionally. When a criminal commits an act such as an armed robbery and ends up killing the victim in the process, the criminal will hopefully face criminal prosecution from the state, as well as civil action from the victim’s family or representative. This can also apply when an individual unintentionally kills another person from abuse. For example, an abusive domestic partner striking his or her partner and causing the victim to suffer a fatal head injury could face criminal charges and liability for a wrongful death claim from the victim’s family.

Legal Options After the Death of a Loved One

Depending on the circumstances of accidental death, one or more parties may bear liability. If a victim’s family suffers economic hardship from the death, or the death influenced the deceased’s investments and other sources of wealth, the parties who qualify to file wrongful death claims may do so to recover these and other damages.

The most important factor in winning a wrongful death claim is positively identifying the liable party or parties. A wrongful death attorney can help the surviving loved ones of a wrongfully killed individual explore their legal options, determine which parties bear fault for the death, and assess their available compensation options.