Wed 16th Dec | 2020

What Are the Leading Causes of Death in the United States?

Accidents Wrongful Death BY

The leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer, and unintentional injuries or accidents. While scientists and medical professionals are searching for ways to prevent and cure heart disease and cancer, multiple agencies and individuals must work together to reduce unintentional injuries. Accidental deaths have various sources, including falls, motor vehicle accidents, and unintentional poisoning or drug overdose. Some people name medical errors alone as the third-leading cause of death in America, and in 2020, Scientific American places COVID-19 as the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

But let’s go back to the 3 leading causes of death established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2018: heart disease, cancer, and accidents. Unlike heart disease and cancer, which are frequently genetic and can be difficult – if not impossible – to prevent, unintentional injuries can largely be avoided.

All too often, accidents are the result of negligence or a failure to behave with an ordinary level of care. Texting while driving, for example, is careless and can easily cause fatal accidents. This means something as easy as putting your cell phone away while behind the wheel can save lives.

For each cause of accidental death, individuals and organizations can take steps to reduce risk and help prevent unnecessary losses.

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults, but organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Organization (NHTSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) work hard to reduce them.

As a driver, you can also help reduce motor vehicle accidents by obeying all traffic laws and speed limits, driving defensively, avoiding distractions, and refraining from driving under the influence.

Prosecutors and personal injury attorneys also help reduce traffic accidents by holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions in both criminal and civil courts.


Falls can happen in a number of different settings and are especially dangerous for adults over 65. Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe for visitors, and nursing homes especially must work to prevent falls in older adults. Slips, trips, and falls are also the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries, catastrophic hip fractures, and spinal cord injuries.

Unintentional Poisoning

Opioid manufacturers have created an overdose crisis in the United States, and many of them are finally being held accountable in civil and criminal courts. Aside from these addictive painkillers, many defective products and pharmaceuticals cause cancer and other serious – and sometimes deadly – side effects.

Additionally, mistakes in prescribing and administering medication and anesthesia errors cause countless injuries and deaths each year.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) do their best to keep dangerous products off the market and recall drugs and products that turn out to be defective.

Product liability lawyers also hold negligent manufacturers accountable, and medical malpractice attorneys can help when patients are injured by medication errors.

What To Do If You Lose a Loved One Due to Negligence

Because accidents are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, a huge part of the population loses loved ones to negligence. If you are experiencing a loss, know that you are not alone, and remember that you have legal rights during this difficult time.

For more information about filing a wrongful death lawsuit and recovering damages for funeral expenses and other costs, schedule a free consultation with Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Littky-Rubin & Whitman.

Call us at 561-899-2100 or contact us online to get started today.