Car accidents are stressful, painful, and an inconvenience. You might have to miss work and have no vehicle to use. And when those accidents cause injuries, you have additional costs that quickly add up.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car crashes in the U.S. cost approximately $836 billion per year.
The costs of a car accident go well beyond that of just repairing a vehicle or paying for emergency room treatments. Instead, severe accidents come with long-term costs – and those costs can add up into the hundreds of thousands.
The Costs of a Car Accident in Louisville
When you are thinking about how much compensation you deserve after an accident, you need to consider all the factors. Not only do you have the initial costs, but you will have the long-term costs – especially if you are involved in a catastrophic accident or suffer from a permanent disability.
Vehicle Repairs and Car Rental Costs
The first cost you are likely to encounter is that of repairing your vehicle or replacing that vehicle if the insurance company determines it is totaled. Unfortunately, vehicle repairs and replacements are based on market value – not how much you owe on your car.
If you end up owing more than the vehicle is worth, you would have to pay the balance on a vehicle you cannot drive.
Even if your car is repairable, you will need a rental in the meantime. Sometimes, your auto insurance policy has coverage for rental cars, while other times this comes out of your pocket. Some vehicle repairs can take weeks or months, which means you will have to incur the costs.
Most rentals range from $20 to $40 per day. And if that is coming out of your pocket, that expense will add up quickly.
Medical Care and Expenses
If you and your passengers are injured in the accident, you may need emergency medical care. Emergency room visits can add up quickly. And if you require emergency surgery or hospitalization, those costs double or triple.
Consider the following costs you would encounter after a serious accident:
- Ambulance ride
- Emergency room visit
- Hospital admittance and stay
After you are discharged, you still have to follow-up with your physician, the surgeon, or a specialist. Then, you may have more medical costs like durable medical equipment, therapy, and prescriptions.
Even if your injuries are not severe, a minor accident can lead to soft tissue injuries such as whiplash. Whiplash treatments are not cheap, and they will exhaust your medical benefits quickly. You may need chiropractic treatments, pain management, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, and other rehabilitative services to help you recover.
If you do not have paid time off from work, the time you take for doctor’s appointments or recovering from your injuries will leave you without income. This is a high cost that many accident victims do not consider, especially long-term.
Think about how many hours you will miss for treatments and follow-ups. And what if you are disabled and cannot return to work in the same capacity?
In a personal injury case, you would not only miss work for the accident and initial treatment, but you would also miss work to appear in court, meet with your attorney, go to medical appointments, and more. This can negatively impact your quality of life and even affect your living situation.
Higher Insurance Premiums
If you were to make a claim against your insurance for the accident, you might incur a higher insurance premium because of that claim. If you are not at fault, however, you should not have a higher premium.
You Have a Duty to Minimize Losses
As a plaintiff in a car accident case, you must mitigate losses. That means you do your part to reduce the amount of damages in your case. Naturally, there are costs out of your control. But if you were to ignore medical advice and re-injure or worsen your injuries from the accident, the at-fault party is not obligated to pay for those costs.
To minimize the chances of the defense arguing that you exacerbated the injuries and damages, you should:
- Follow all instructions provided by your physician. You need to follow your care instructions carefully. That includes taking the medication prescribed and as it is prescribed, attending physical therapy when told, going to follow-up appointments, and following any precautions (such as not lifting over ten pounds). If you disagree with your physician’s orders, talk to your attorney. You may be able to get a second opinion.
- Seek medical treatment right away. It is best to see a doctor immediately after the accident. Doing so will help create the link between the accident and your injuries and give the defense fewer opportunities to claim your injuries were pre-existing.
- Report new symptoms immediately. If new symptoms appear a few days after the accident, go back to your doctor and report them. Sometimes, injuries such as whiplash do not show immediately after the crash. As the pain and stiffness increases, however, you should seek medical treatment again.
How the Insurance Company Sees Delays or Gaps in Treatment
Any delays or gaps in medical treatment can be detrimental to your case. Some questions the insurance company will ask if they notice these gaps include:
- Are the injuries really from the car accident or another incident?
- Was the victim injured in a different, unrelated accident?
- Is the victim faking his or her injuries?
- How much cheaper would the medical expenses have been had the victim sought medical treatment immediately or continued with treatment after the accident?
Speak with an Accident Attorney First
If you were seriously injured in a car accident, contact an attorney in your area to explore your options and to make sure you have the right calculations for a fair settlement. An attorney reviews all the potential costs – including future expenses – so that you get the compensation you deserve.
To explore your options, contact the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, now at 502-791-9000. You can also request more information by completing the online contact form.