Most Common Killers
Although you might not want to think about it, we all die sooner or later. Approximately 2.6 million of us passed away in the U.S. during 2014, according to the CDC. But do you know what the odds are for the most likely causes of death? We have some 2016 statistics, courtesy of the National Safety Council (NSC), that detail the most likely ways we are to die in the United States.
Keep in mind that the odds listed below apply to our entire population. You will not have as high a likelihood of dying from heart disease, for example, if you exercise, eat well, keep a healthy weight, and do not have genetic risks.
The Top Twenty Ways We Die
Most of the types of deaths in the top 20 are considered preventable, at least in part, by the NSC. Here are the odds of dying from:
- Cancer: 1 in 6
- Heart disease: 1 in 7
- Chronic lower respiratory disease: 1 in 27
- Suicide: 1 in 91
- Motor vehicle crashes: 1 in 102
- Opioid pain killers: 1 in 109
- Falling: 1 in 119
- Gun assault: 1 in 285
- Pedestrian accident: 1 in 561
- Motorcycle accident: 1 in 846
- Drowning: 1 in 1,086
- Fire/smoke: 1 in 1,506
- Choking on food: 1 in 3,138
- Riding a bicycle: 1 in 4,050
- Accidental gun discharge: 1 in 8,305
- Sunstroke: 1 in 8,976
- Radiation, electrocution, or extremes in pressure or temperature: 1 in 14,630
- Sharp implements: 1 in 27,407
- Stings from bees, wasps, and hornets: 1 in 54,093
- Hot substances and surfaces: 1 in 56,316.
Do you see any surprises on the list? It could be shocking to learn that both cancer and heart disease combined kill approximately 45 percent of us in this country. If we add the third most likely cause of death (chronic lower respiratory disease), the percentage climbs to 51 percent—more than half of us. The reasons why can be attributed to smoking, excessive drinking, lack of exercise, poor diet, and poor sleep habits. Of course, genetics can play a role as well, but, in general, we don’t worry as much as we should about dying from these three diseases.
Many of the deaths on the rest of the list can be attributed to accidents—in motor vehicles, at work, or at home. These fatalities are largely preventable.
What about More Unusual Causes of Death?
The NSC’s odds of death from 21st through 25th are:
- 21: Catastrophic storm: 1 in 62,288
- 22: Lightning: 1 in 114,195
- 23: Dog attack: 1 in 132,614
- 24: Rail passenger: 1 in 178,741
- 25: Airplane passenger: 1 in 205,552.
If you don’t see your particular worry on the list, you might be interested to know that:
- The odds of dying in a terrorist attack (averaged from 2001 through 2017) are about 1 in 1.6 million.
- The odds of being attacked by a shark (worldwide) are about 1 in 11.5 million.
- The odds of dying in an elevator are about 1 in 10.44 million.
- The odds of dying from a bear attack in Yellowstone National Park (the second largest national park in the continental 48 states) are about 1 in 2.1 million.
If we examine all of these fatality odds listings carefully, you’ll see that the types of deaths we tend to worry about are the rarer ones. We don’t tend to concern ourselves much with our likelihood of dying in a car crash (odds of 1 in 102), but we may obsess over flying in an airplane (odds of 1 in 205,552).
Perhaps this tendency in people may seem harmless to you, but in actuality, the more we concern ourselves with unlikely ways of dying, the more we may underestimate our very real risks that come from smoking, drinking, and taking daredevil-type chances in our everyday lives.
Of course, accidents can and do happen, and when they do, often they are caused by another person’s reckless disregard or negligence. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed, and you believe the other party is at fault, we hope you will think about obtaining skilled legal assistance.
What is your next step toward justice?
Personal injury claims can be costly to pursue, and many law firms are not in a position to effectively reach a resolution in these cases. You can be assured that our investigative team at McNeely Stephenson goes to work immediately to uncover the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘when,’ ‘where,’ ‘why’ and ‘how’ of any personal injury or wrongful death case.
Both Mike Stephenson, with his more than three decades of experience, and Brady Rife, with his diverse experience in personal injury litigation, will commit to the highest standards of client care for your case. We offer free consultations and would like to discuss how we can be of service to you. Please call us today, or use our confidential online contact form.