After a car accident, your biggest concern should be for your health, wellbeing, and safety. Unfortunately, for far too many Americans, their biggest concern is how they’re going to cover their bills. Hospitals, ambulance rides, and physical therapy can all be expensive, and that may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the financial aftermath of a crash.
Take one look at the average cost of a car accident in the United States and it’s easy to see why the bills are such a big concern. ● An accident with fatalities will cost $1,410,000 per death. ● An accident with a non-fatal disabling injury will cost $78,900.● An accident with non-disabling injuries and property damage will cost $8,900.● A minor car crash can cost an uninsured motorist nearly $10,000.
Car accident costs do not only affect individuals, either. The costs to businesses and society are also staggering. Crashes that happen during work-related activities represent 40% of all crashes. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), accidents can cost a single company around $66 billion, with another $33 million in lost work.
The annual cost of car accidents in the U.S. is a staggering $230.6 billion. Each year in this country there are 2.35 million injury accidents and 37,000 fatalities. As automobile manufacturers have developed improved safety features, the number of accidents and injuries has gone down, but the costs associated with them have continued to rise.
Factors That Can Affect the Cost of an Accident
All of the following will be contributing factors to the overall cost of a car accident.
Damage to Your Vehicle
A car accident can be anything from a minor fender bender with damage that is barely noticeable to a vehicle that is completely totaled. The cost of your repairs and the cost of your vehicle both factor into the overall cost of a wreck.
Extent of Your Injuries
Any car accident, no matter how minor, can result in at least one medical bill. Injuries like minor cuts and bruises may not require any hospitalization, but it’s still a good idea to get checked out by a doctor to be medically cleared. Injuries that are severe enough to require hospitalization, physical therapy, or lifelong care can greatly contribute to the cost of your accident.
Your Passengers’ Injuries
The severity of your passengers’ injuries and the number of passengers in the vehicle at the time of an accident can also make the cost of an accident sky-high. You may also be held legally liable for your passengers’ damages if you are found to be at fault.
Car wrecks can damage a lot more property than the vehicle itself. If your accident damages other property like items in the vehicle or the cinder block wall in front of someone’s house, you may also be held liable for those costs.
Location of the Accident
The liability laws where you live can also affect the cost of an accident. For example, Washington DC has pure contributory negligence laws. If you get in an accident there, if you’re determined to be just 5% at fault for your accident you cannot recover a single penny. You’d be responsible for paying all of your own damages, even if someone else was 95% responsible.
The Cost of an Attorney
After an accident, you may want to consult a car accidents lawyer to see if you have any options for filing a claim. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. You’ll end up paying for their services in the end if you settle or get an award, but it won’t be an expense that comes out of your pocket up-front.
After a settlement or award, the other party will send a check to your attorney, who will then deduct their fee and cut you a check for the rest. The typical amount an attorney will take is somewhere between 33.3% to 40%. A lawyer may also use a sliding scale to determine their fee.