Road Traffic Accidents: Their Impact on Society and What Victims Can Do

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), road traffic accidents (RTAs) take 1.35 million lives each year. Of these fatalities, more than half are from cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Around 20 million to 50 million people suffer from non-fatal injuries, but many of them incur disabilities due to the injury they sustained from the accidents. Due to these huge numbers, RTAs have been recognized as a public health issue that needs to be tackled using a multi-disciplinary approach.

Contributing Factors

RTAs happen day after day due to several factors, including reckless driving or overspeeding, poor vehicle maintenance, overcapacity of the vehicle, drunk driving or driving under the influence of any psychoactive substance, and disobedience traffic rules, distracted driving, and the poor condition of roads. Weather conditions and the recklessness of some pedestrians are also other causes.

Societal Impact

The impact of road traffic accidents is felt mostly at the household level. It affects household activity and the victim’s quality of life. Especially when the accident resulted in the death of the main income earner or to the victim’s non-reversible disability, it can cause severe social and economic consequences to the household. The high costs of medical treatment alone are enough to adversely affect the economic status of the victims.

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Preventive Measures

The unexpected deaths and injuries caused by RTAs are preventable. The United Nations regional commission and WHO have implemented global efforts and advocated road safety guidelines to save millions of lives from road crashes. WHO has also provided technical support to countries to reduce the fatalities and injuries from road traffic accidents in low- to middle-income cities and countries. Additionally, WHO assists its Member States in creating road safety policies, evaluation, and implementation.

Hope for Victims

Injuries resulting from RTAs can be extremely life-changing and can significantly affect the victim physically, mentally, and psychologically. Fortunately, victims of RTAs can seek justice and compensation for the misfortune that befalls them. Under the law, the victims can take legal action against the person who caused the accident and injury. A personal injury lawyer can help them with the legal processes involved. The lawyers can assess the claims, and if found to be viable, they can then advise the victims on what legal action to take.

Once the victim has sought the lawyer’s legal assistance, the attorney will then handle all the communications and negotiations required to claim the indemnity from the insurance company or from the person who caused the accident. They can also provide recommendations and guidance on the type of medical procedures and examinations required to help the victim further.

In some instances, negotiations may be completed outside the court. But if the insurance company or the person deemed to have been guilty of causing the accident and the injury refuse to settle, legal representation in court may be required. The lawyer can handle everything to ensure that the victim gets all the legal assistance necessary to win the case.

What to Do During Road Crashes

Getting involved in a road accident is sometimes inevitable. No matter how careful you are, other reckless drivers or the people around you may make a mistake, resulting in crashes. If you ever get involved in one, here are some things that you must do:

  • Do not leave the area. Instead, check for injuries in yourself and see if other people have also been injured.
  • If you are not badly hurt and can still move, obtain evidence by getting pictures and videos of the scene. You can use these pieces of evidence as your arguing tool if the other party makes denials regarding what happened.
  • Seek help and call the police. The police will help move you out of the accident area and take records of what happened. The police records are vital when seeking compensation.
  • Talk with the person who caused the accident and exchange vital information. Remember to keep your cool and refrain from initiating a fight that may lead to further injuries.
  • Have yourself checked by a medical expert and ask for medical certification or medical examination results. You will use these when filing for claims.

Road traffic accidents, severe ones, can cause trauma and may affect victims for a long time. Anyone can be a victim. Although not a guarantee, being careful when on the road can greatly help reduce the chances of getting into any road crashes and incurring severe injuries.

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