Motor vehicle accidents in Nova Scotia are on a worrying upward trend. In 2018, the five-year average of collision-related fatalities was at a provincial high, with a 57% increase of deaths caused by motor vehicles. With more than seventy collision-related fatalities in 2019, Nova Scotia has seen the highest number of deaths on the road in nearly a decade.
While an examination of accident statistics in the province can help us comprehend the importance of driver safety and the seriousness of this state of affairs, statistics fail to illustrate the very real, human repercussions of automobile collisions. Car accidents can happen in an instant, and have the potential to disrupt the course of a victim’s entire life, as well as the lives of their loved ones.
Sustaining a severe injury in a car accident could lead to an individual’s inability to return to the workplace, resulting in significant financial hardship, in addition to the difficulties of coping with a diminished quality of life. Car accidents resulting in wrongful deaths could have lasting impacts on a victim’s family, both emotionally and financially. If another driver’s negligence resulted in serious injury or loss of life, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you pursue accountability and financial restitution.
Through an analysis of troubling facts and statistics, it is clear that now more than ever, all Nova Scotians must practice safe driving habits on the road at all times. The city of Halifax has the highest frequency of on-road collisions in the entire country. All drivers must exercise caution and responsibility behind the wheel to prevent more collisions, and more unnecessary, tragic results.
Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents
Whenever drivers engage in negligent, unlawful behaviours behind the wheel, they put themselves and others at extreme risk. The majority of car accidents in Nova Scotia are the result of easily preventable causes.
A cursory look at provincial statistics illustrates just how easily collisions resulting in death could be avoided by simply practicing safe driving habits. For example, speeding is responsible for nearly 30% of the province’s fatal collisions. Driving above the speed limit can cost lives. It is also one of the greatest contributing factors to the high accident rate in Halifax, where 7.9 per 100 cars on the road are involved in a collision.
Similarly, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs accounts for nearly a quarter of the province’s fatal motor vehicle accidents. In Canada, every day on average, four people are killed as the result of impaired driving. When drivers get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking or using recreational drugs, they may be slow to respond to changing road conditions or quick to overcompensate mistakes. They may experience blurred vision, loss of judgment, and even loss of consciousness behind the wheel as the result of their inebriation, creating extremely unsafe conditions for themselves and other road users.
Accidents can happen in an instant. In the brief moments it takes a driver to check a notification on their phone, lives can be lost and catastrophic injuries can be sustained. Distracted driving is a serious, nationwide problem. According to Canada’s National Security Council, more than a quarter of the country’s car accidents involve a cell phone, even in hands-free mode. Although cell-phone use is a common cause of these accidents, distracted driving encompasses any set of circumstances where a driver’s focus is taken off the road, even for a brief instance. Changing the radio station, conversing with the car’s passengers, eating while the vehicle is in motion, and other actions that steal a driver’s attention from the road could result in devastating accidents. In Nova Scotia, driver distraction is estimated to be a contributing factor in 8 out of every 10 collisions reported to the police.
In addition to these negligent behaviours, a major factor contributing to fatalities on Nova Scotia’s roads is a failure to take one of the simplest safety precautions. In 2019, failing to properly wear a seatbelt contributed to 27% of the province’s fatal car accidents.
These worrisome statistics prove that all Nova Scotians must practice an abundance of caution behind the wheel, and routinely engage in responsible behaviour every time they ride in a motor vehicle, in order to avoid tragedies on the road.
Who is Most at Risk of Being Involved in a Collision?
In Nova Scotia, car accidents are the leading cause of death for the province’s youth. Owing to both the inexperience of new drivers and their proclivity for greater risk-taking on the road, Nova Scotians aged 15-24 have the province’s highest rates of injuries and fatalities as the result of motor vehicle collisions.
According to Transport Canada, young drivers account for 25% of the country’s injuries and deaths on the road. Although new drivers in Nova Scotia are required to pass written and in-car examinations in order to procure a license, passing these tests is no indication of a young driver’s maturity, or future driving habits. Young drivers may be more susceptible to distractions behind the wheel than more experienced motorists. New drivers may also be more prone to reckless driving, operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs, or other dangerous behaviours behind the wheel that could result in disastrous collisions.
Provincial educational initiatives designed to teach newly licensed drivers about the risks of poor decision-making may have positive impacts on the driving habits of Nova Scotia’s next generation of motorists. However, this demographic continues to be at the greatest risk of being seriously injured, or tragically killed as the result of a motor vehicle accident on the province’s roads.
Pursuing Damages for Injuries Sustained in Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it can be difficult to know what actions to take next, or where to turn for accountability. In Nova Scotia, regardless of which party was responsible for causing your collision, you may be able to collect Section B benefits to cover costs related to medical expenses, lost wages due to an inability to work as a result of your injuries, and possibly more. These accident benefits typically cover the costs of damages up to $50,000 for four years following your accident.
If your collision was caused by another driver’s negligence, a Nova Scotia car accident lawyer may be able to help you recover both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages for losses you incurred as a result of your injuries.
Pecuniary damages are the calculable costs related to an accident victim’s injuries. If these damages exceed the amount of Section B benefits assigned to a car accident survivor, a lawyer may be able to pursue them through tort action against the negligent driver responsible for causing the collision. Some examples of pecuniary damages may include:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- And possibly more
When a driver’s recklessness results in catastrophic, debilitating injuries, in addition to physical pain, accident victims may endure emotional trauma and a diminished quality of life. In the extremely unfortunate situations where a driver’s collision-causing negligence ends in a victim’s inability to perform the same activities they enjoyed before their accident, a Nova Scotia lawyer may be able to help these accident survivors pursue non-pecuniary damages. Examples of these damages might include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers if You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
A statistical overview of serious motor vehicle accidents in Nova Scotia may be indicative of a worrisome rising trend, but behind each of those numbers are regular people who never anticipated having their lives significantly altered as the result of a car accident.
If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by another driver’s negligence, and sustained serious injuries as a result, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for damages you incurred. To discuss the circumstances of the accident and learn if you’re eligible to pursue damages, contact us today.
For a free, initial consultation, call Preszler Injury Lawyers at 902-405-8282.