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Fatal traffic accidents rise for the first time in years

Washington drivers are in the region that has seen a large jump in traffic fatalities in 2015. The nationwide 9.3 percent rise for the first nine months of 2015 compared to the comparable period in 2014 is the first time in years that deaths from motor vehicle accidents has increased rather than decreased. In the Northwest, the total increase in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period of time in 2014 was 20 percent.

In 2014, 23,796 people died nationwide in traffic accidents in the first nine months of the year. In 2015, that number was more than 26,000. Some regions saw lower overall increases such as the mid-Atlantic and South Central states with a 2 percent increase. However, it was all in contrast to a 1.2 decrease between 2013 and 2014 and a 22 percent decrease from 2000 to 2014.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes happen because of human factors. The agency, concerned about the jump in fatalities, has begun regional summits to look more closely at the problem. It also plans initiatives to reduce behavior such as not wearing seat belts and drunk driving that contribute to fatalities.

Families who lose a loved one in a fatal automobile accident often face severe financial challenges in addition to the grief accompanying the unexpected death, especially when the decedent was the breadwinner. If the accident was caused by the negligence of another driver, they may want to meet with an attorney in order to determine whether the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit would be an appropriate way of seeking compensation for their losses.

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