King County Medical Examiner releases report on 2010 traffic accident deaths

The King County Medical Examiner’s (ME) office released their 2010 Annual Report on the investigation of 150 car accident fatalities. While the deaths are listed as “accident” on the death certificate, the ME says the more correct term is “motor vehicle collision.”

The Medical Examiner’s office investigates deaths when the death is sudden, violent, unexpected or suspicious. Commonly, they investigate deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and other accidents such as those that happen at the workplace or in the home. The information tabulated by the ME office allows public institutions to track trends in injury and violence.

The Medical Examiner’s report includes 53 fatality investigations where the car accident occurred outside of King County; The King County Medical Examiner investigates a car accident death when the injured victim died after being transported to the Harborview Medical Center, a Level I trauma center, located in Seattle, Washington.

The Medical Examiner report found that of the 150 deaths they investigated:

  • In 46% of the cases, the person killed was the driver.
  • Deaths to teenage drives decreased in 2010 from 10% to 7% of the drivers, a total of 5 teenage drivers killed.
  • 75% of the drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents were male.
  • 27 automobile passengers were killed.
  • No infants were killed and there was only one car accident death of a young child under the age of five.
  • 35% of the drivers that were killed were not wearing seat belts.
  • 24 of the 150 killed were motorcycle riders. 83% of the motorcyclists killed were wearing helmets.
  • 27 pedestrians were killed
  • 3 bicyclists were killed.
  • 30% of those killed tested positive for alcohol.

When a person is killed in a motor vehicle accident, the Medical Examiner’s investigation report provides necessary information used in settling insurance claims or in criminal or civil proceedings. When a person is killed in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another, the ME’s findings can be used in a wrongful death lawsuit because it contains scientific information about the death and existing pathology.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If a loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of a driver, the family of the deceased is entitled to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased loved one. Washington State has a wrongful death statute which allows the family to recover damages in a civil action.

Source: 2010 KCMEO Annual Report
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, The Farber Law Group advises hiring a personal injury law firm with an extensive experience in handling wrongful death cases.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Bellevue to assist you.

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