The Emotional Cost of Surviving a Deadly Accident
OMAHA, Nebraska. Every time we step behind the wheel, we are taking a risk. Most of us understand that driving is risky, that in getting behind the wheel, we could potentially hurt ourselves or others if we make a mistake. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 32,000 people are killed every year due to car accidents. We sympathize with the victims of car accidents and we offer support to those who have been hurt. Personal injury lawyers like Rensch & Rensch Law in Omaha, Nebraska review cases to determine whether individuals have been negligent behind the wheel. However, what happens when negligence is not found? What happens when you are behind the wheel and you end up accidentally taking the life of another person? Unfortunately, there are few real supports for individuals in this unique situation, despite the fact that the number of people who may find themselves in it might number in the thousands each year.
This is one of the questions raised by a fascinating new article in the New Yorker. What happens when you are behind the wheel and an accident results in the death of another person? The reality is that there are few resources in place. The New Yorker identifies only one self-help website—called Accidental Impacts—written for individuals who survive accidents where another person was killed. Individuals who survive these kinds of accidents sometimes struggle with guilt, shame, a sense of responsibility, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even lawsuits from the families of those they unintentionally hurt. The website offers some resources to help individuals in this predicament cope, but there are truly few resources.
Accidents are caused by many factors, some of which are outside the control of the drivers involved. For example, poor road maintenance or conditions can lead to a deadly accident. Debris in the road can cause a driver to react by swerving, resulting in a deadly accident. And then, there are deadly accidents for which the exact causes are not really clear. Pedestrians sometimes walk in front of cars because they are distracted or because city road designs are poorly executed. Sometimes both pedestrians and drivers have the green light to walk and to drive, after all. There are many accidents that are simply outside our control.
However, for individuals who have survived these kinds of deadly accidents, there may be options. For example, if road conditions were poor and contributed to the accident, survivors may be able to seek compensation from the city or state responsible for road maintenance. Having a jury on your side, letting you know that these other factors played a role can sometimes be comforting to an individual responsible for a deadly accident. Additionally, the compensation could be used to help individuals seek counseling and other services, which can be costly. Some individuals may also be suffering from injuries of their own as a result of their crash. The New Yorker article makes clear that there may be thousands of people suffering in silence after surviving a deadly accident, though there are no studies on the number of people affected. Some of these individuals may blame themselves for factors that may have been entirely out of their control—like a bad street light, gravel on a roadway, a distracted pedestrian. The accident lawyers of Rensch & Rensch in Omaha, Nebraska work with a range of clients to help them seek answers after tragedy strikes. For more information about accident attorneys click here.