The Association for Safe International Road Travel reports that more than 37,000 individuals nationwide lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes each year. Moreover, 2.35 million individuals suffer injuries due to auto accidents. While these statistics are certainly sobering, the statistics regarding motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey may be of greater concern to residents of the state.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation reports that, in 2016, the state saw nearly 256,500 motor vehicle accidents. Of these crashes, over 59,000 resulted in injuries and over 570 were fatal. In total, just over 600 individuals lost their lives. This is a 48 percent uptick in deadly accidents from 2015.

Keep in mind, however, that these numbers include single-vehicle accidents, crashes between two vehicles and multi-vehicle accidents. In addition, while many of these accidents involved motorists, some involved pedestrians, bicyclists, truckers and motorcyclists.

There are several factors that contributed to these collisions. One factor is speeding. Another factor is cellphone usage, as well as other forms of distracted driving. Finally, a third factor is drunk driving. In the end, all these factors that contributed to the number of motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey may be considered acts of negligence.

Drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles in a manner that is safe under the circumstances. If they breach this duty and the breach actually and proximately causes another individual to suffer damages, this may be considered negligence and the driver may be held liable for the crash. Of course, proving negligence is not always an open-and-shut case. Therefore, those injured in car accidents, or their loved ones if the victim died, will want to ensure they understand how the law applies to the facts of their specific case, so they can make informed decisions on how to move forward.