Published on:

Death and Taxes: Recent Study Shows a Connection

Sure, tax day is grueling for many Americans, but deadly too? New research suggests that it might be.

According to a recent report by MSNBC, researchers who studied 30 years of data found that there was a significantly higher risk of fatal car crashes on the day of the IRS tax deadline than any other comparable day of the year. In fact, the study showed that across the U.S., there are approximately 13 more crashes on tax day, which may contribute to a 6 percent higher risk of dying as a driver, passenger, or even a pedestrian on tax day, said MSNBC.

Researchers believe that this risk stems from negligent driving caused by a rush to get taxes filed on time and an overall increase in stress and lack of sleep. Almost 20 percent of all taxpayers wait until the last minute to file taxes, and, “all of a sudden there’s one source of stress that’s onerous, synchronized, repeated and applies to a huge community,” said Dr. Donald A. Redelmeier, an internist and researcher at the University of Toronto and one of the co-authors of this study.

The analysis examined data on U.S. tax and traffic fatalities from 1980 to 2009. Each year, approximately 141 million individual returns are filed according to IRS figures. The stress people experience translates to auto accidents; though this particular study focused on traffic fatalities, the fallout likely spreads to non-fatal car accidents and property damage as well.

Every time a driver gets behind the wheel of a car, he or she is accepting responsibility for the safety of everyone else on the road. Although accidents can and do happen, when a driver’s negligent behavior or careless actions lead to the injury or death of another person, the negligent driver must be held accountable. When a driver is stressed and, as a result, pays less attention to his or her driving and a car accident occurs, it may lead to an Illinois personal injury lawsuit in which the driver who caused the harm may be made to pay damages resulting from the injuries sustained in the crash.

However, when those car accidents cause fatalities, wrongful death lawsuits may arise instead. Under Illinois law, wrongful death is the legal concept that arises when a person’s death has been caused by the fault or negligence of another person or business. In cases of wrongful death, family members and loved ones of the decedent can file a claim to potentially make the wrongdoer pay damages for things such as the loss of companionship, monetary damages to cover the earnings the deceased person would have provided, and expenses associated with the death such as funeral and burial costs.

Injuries suffered as a result of these types of accidents can be severe and life altering. This year tax day is April 17, and our Chicago personal injury lawyers want people to be safe. Consistent with the recommendations offered by the study, we recommend that people buckle seatbelts, slow down, pay attention to driving and other harried drivers, and try not to be distracted by tax worries until you get to your final destination.

The saying goes that nothing in life is certain besides death and taxes; hopefully with a little care, we can reduce fatalities.