Top Causes of Accidental Death in the US: How Liability Works

Though heart disease and cancer may be the top causes of death in the US, a glance further down the list reveals a disturbing fact: Accidents rank fourth in terms of annual fatalities, according to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unintentional injuries are responsible for around 201,000 fatalities every year, though the specific type of incident varies considerably among different age groups. However, regardless of the causes behind deadly accidents, the death of a loved one can be devastating for surviving family members.

Legal action may not be able to bring back a deceased victim, but Alaska wrongful death laws allow you to recover monetary damages if someone close to you died in an accident. An Anchorage wrongful death lawyer can help you navigate the process, which can be complicated when you are dealing with overwhelming grief and financial losses. Some information on liability related to the top causes of accidental death may also be useful.


Unintentional Poisoning

It may come as a shock to learn that motor vehicle crashes do not top the list, and it is even more surprising to understand how unintentional poisoning ranks #1. In the US, it is the opioid crisis that is causing the most fatalities annually – a trend that has been designated as an “epidemic” by government officials. Fentanyl and other opioids cause more than 87,400 fatalities, and many victims get these drugs through legal prescriptions. As such, a health care provider who prescribed, filled, or administered opioids may be liable for medical malpractice.



In the #2 spot, accidental slip and fall injuries are behind around 42,100 deaths. These incidents disproportionately affect individuals aged 65 and older, as around one in four people in this age group suffer falls every year. Notably, about 5% of the elderly live in nursing homes – yet assisted living residents account for 20% of fatalities from falls. Nursing home neglect is often the reason accidental falls happen, so you may hold a facility accountable through a wrongful death claim.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Traffic crashes round out the top three causes of death in the US, leading to approximately 40,100 fatalities annually. These figures cover auto collisions, as well as accidents involving trucks, motorcycle riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The person behind the wheel is generally the at-fault party in terms of liability, but keep in mind Alaska’s insurance laws. You will usually need to file a claim with an insurance company to recover compensation for wrongful death. In addition, an employer could be liable for negligent driving by one of its employees under vicarious liability concepts.

Our Alaska Wrongful Death Attorneys Will Explain Your Legal Remedies

You may qualify to recover compensation for losses related to financial contributions, education, love, support, guidance, and many others in a wrongful death case. To learn how we can help with the process, please contact Power & Power Law. You can call 907-222-9990 or visit our website to set up a no-cost consultation at our Anchorage offices.