The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that accidents cost our nation over $10 billion in 2021. This figure is more than just a national average, it provides some perspective as to how much a crash can cost the victims.
The cost of each individual car accident will vary depending on the details of the situation. A fender bender with no injuries can cost a couple of thousand dollars to repair the vehicle and loss of the car for a few days while an auto shop completes repairs. In contrast, the costs that come with a crash that results in injuries can quickly snowball.
There are some portions of these expenses that are relatively easy to calculate and others that are not. We can estimate the cost of missed wages based on how much work the victim missed and the medical expenses based on hospital bills. The more difficult can include attempts to estimate the cost of pain, suffering and mental distress.
What factors impact the cost of a crash?
The factor that will have the biggest impact on the cost of the accident is the presence of injuries. If a crash results in injuries the cost will go up, and quickly. A broken bone, head injury, or damage to internal organs can mean the need for an emergency response team, medical treatment, and time spent unable to work.
The NSC further estimates the average cost of a crash that results in injuries starts at $40,000. If these injuries lead to potential disabilities, the cost goes up to $155,000. If it results in injuries that lead to death, the cost is approximately $1.8 million.
As noted above estimates related to medical bills and missed wages are relatively easy to calculate. Putting a number to pain and suffering, mental distress, disfigurement, and a loss in the ability to enjoy life as before the accident is much more difficult. These are known as noneconomic damages and the process to calculate an estimate will vary depending on state law. Although not an easy calculation, in Connecticut these noneconomic losses are generally determined by using a multiplier to the estimated economic damages like medical expenses.
What should I do if I am injured in a car accident?
If you believe the accident was the result of the other driver’s reckless or negligent driving, you can likely hold that driver and their insurance provider accountable for the cost of the accident through a civil lawsuit. If successful, you will get funds to cover medical and rehabilitative expenses as well as missed wages and pain and suffering. It will also deter the driver and others in the community from making the same mistakes, ultimately making your neighborhood a safer place to live.