Every client we serve has a story. Many of these stories are hard to hear, and harder for victims to tell, because they include very frightening moments. Some of the scariest stories involve accident victims being ejected from a vehicle. Sadly, most ejection accidents involve at least one fatality. These stories are tragic, and our Panama City ejection crash law firm is committed to helping the victims of these tragedies through personal injury claims (for those who were injured and survived) and wrongful death lawsuits (filed by those who lost a close relative in an accident). We are also committed to using our experience to help prevent ejection crashes from happening in the first place.
An early morning accident, detailed in The News Herald, claimed the life of a Florida man travelling through the Panhandle region early on Sunday June 16. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 38-year-old Elliott Lee Culbreath was driving westbound on U.S. 98. He was near Watersound Parkway when he lost control of his Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep entered a ditch and struck a driveway culvert before becoming airborne and rolling over multiple times. Culbreath, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene. Authorities are investigating the incident.
In a Center for Disease Control report on seat belt use, the agency also looks at the danger of ejection. The agency notes that people who did not wear a seat belt were 30 times more likely to be ejected in the event of a crash. This statistic becomes even more meaningful when combined with the fact that 3 out of 4 people who are ejected in the course of a crash will die as a result of their injuries. A more in-depth look at fatal crashes, restraint use, and ejections can be found in a report from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis ("NCSA").
The study focuses on fatal accidents that occurred in 2003. In the introduction, the NCSA notes that the risk of serious injuries increases when the occupant is unrestrained. Additionally, individuals who did not wear a seatbelt also have an increased risk of ejection. More specifically (looking at the data set of fatal crashes), 44% of passenger vehicle occupants who did not wear a seatbelt were either partially or totally ejected while only 6% of belted occupants were ejected. Overall, SUVs had the highest proportion of unrestrained fatalities that involved ejection.
This data makes two points clear:
Preventing ejection by wearing a seatbelt is particularly important for SUV occupants since SUVs pose a greater ejection risk. The message that seatbelts save lives is not new, but perhaps this added reason will encourage more people to make buckling up a part of their driving routine.
While we encourage readers to take safety measures, the law does not require perfection. Our Panama City car accident law firm can help you recover money damages even if you didn't buckle up. This holds true in both personal injury and wrongful death cases. If someone else caused an ejection crash that caused you injury or claimed the life of a close relative, please call. We can help.