With the number one leading cause of wrongful death being unintentional poisoning, individuals need to be aware of what it is, the growing risks, and how to prevent it from happening. As stated in, “What is Wrongful Death,” unintentional poisoning accounts for just under 50,000 deaths in America from year to year. Since the beginning of the millennium, the number of deaths skyrocketed and looks to continue on that same trajectory. With the increase of unintentional poisonings, wrongful death lawyers see an uptick of these cases and understand how to navigate others through the traumatic process.
For those who may not fully understand what unintentional poisoning is, you must first know what real-life poisoning entails. Essentially, according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), “a poison is any substance, including medications, that is harmful to your body if too much is eaten, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin.” So, unintentional poisoning is this but when too much substance is taken or given to an individual without the means to cause harm.
Of the two million poisoning reports in recent years, the nation is up to about 50,000 deaths (or more)—that is over triple the amount since 1999 (12,186). These deaths have spiked because of the rise in prescription drug use, legally or illegally, and other illegal substances; the overdoses are not limited to things like cocaine and heroin, but extend into opioids like hydrocodone, Percocet, and even methadone. However, wrongful death lawyers also cover unintentional poisoning cases that involve other non-medicinal substances. Over intoxication of alcohol or even cleaning products are categorized as unintentional poisoning, (in most situations though, alcohol consumption is usually intentional) but each situation is case-by-case—if you have a child that is poisoned by a cleaner, you will have to prove there was no negligence on your part.
A child is unlikely to experience unintentional poisoning; the age group that experiences the most deaths from unintentional poisoning is 45-54. While that age group experiences the highest death rate, the others are not far off. Both 25-34 and 35-44 are just under this—all three age groups range around 15,000 deaths a year. There is a significant drop between these age groups and the fourth and fifth groups of 55-64 (around ten thousand) and 15-24 (around five thousand). Considering the top three age groups are around prime parenting age, many individuals that lose their spouse find it necessary to hire a wrongful death lawyer in order to receive the help they need to compensate for the reliance they once had on their spouse.
As mentioned before, the death count is rising significantly in America, and Utah is no different. Utah follows this trend at an absurd rate. In 1999, Utah experienced a total of 29 unintentional deaths, and in the most recent statistical update, that number increased by 16 times to 491. Yes, Utah’s population also grew by one million, but still factoring that in, the increase in death in Utah is up 12 times since the millennium. For more perspective, instead of one and every 75,000 individuals experiencing unintentional death, Utahns are up to one and every six thousand individuals.
The biggest jump Utah experienced from year to year was from 2006 to 2007: 2006 saw 80 deaths and the following year increased to 147—just under half in one year. What is interesting is that 2004 had just as many deaths as 2006 at 77, and 2005 actually had more than 2006 with 94 total unintentional poisoning deaths. From 2007 and on, the count continues to increase persistently. In the following two years, 2008 and 2009, unintentional deaths leap past both unintentional fall deaths and auto accidents in the state of Utah. For all cases involving a wrongful death lawyer, unintentional poisoning cases are the most prevalent.
As with all unforeseen accidents, it is truly difficult to stop them from happening, nonetheless, it is not impossible. Similar to helping prevent a suicide, there may be signs that lead up to the actual event. With unintentional poisoning, you might notice the reliance of a loved one on a prescribed drug. If you notice them complaining about the pain, taking pain relievers more, or filling prescriptions more frequently, you may want to be cautious of the amount they are taking and maybe consult with a doctor or your spouse directly. Even if a wrongful death lawyer will assist you after a loss, it is always better to increase your awareness beforehand rather than try to cope with the situation after.
Another step to prevent any type of unintentional accident is to take proactive steps. Whether you fear others coming into your medicine cabinet or not, there are a few things you can do to prevent others from wrongfully taking your medications, old or new. The first step is to dispose of your prescription after you are fully relieved of the injury or sickness instead of keeping them sitting around. If you think you will need to use them again, it will likely be further down the road of life and your doctor will want to give you a new prescription. Besides, it is not right for you to take medication for something else that is not what the original prescription was intended for.
The next step is to keep the dangerous medications out of the reach of others. In extreme cases, you might need to lock your medicine cabinet so others cannot get to them without a key. The last preventative step apart of these instructions is to educate not only yourself but others on the dangers that come with any kind of substance. Knowing the risk of certain drugs may seem obvious, but some people simply do not understand the power and severity that some of these drugs have.
If you have young children, it is advised that you are careful with cleaning supplies along with medications. Kids love to climb and explore, and even with a child lock, some kids might be able to gain access to your medication or cleaning supplies. The steps above can be applied similarly to youth and young children.
Unintentional poisoning is a terrible way to lose a loved one and can be avoided by following the precautionary steps mentioned above, but if something happens you may have a case that can be covered by a wrongful death lawyer. Do not wait to contact a wrongful death lawyer for a free consultation regarding your situation. We are happy to help.