Breaking Down the Cost of an Accident
A car crash is often a very traumatic and painful, not to mention costly, experience. If you or a loved one has sustained serious injury in a motor vehicle accident, you may be wondering whether your insurance will cover the entire cost of your accident. Who is supposed to pay for what following an accident? Will you be left paying your medical expenses out-of-pocket? Will the damage to your vehicle be completely covered by your insurance or that of the at-fault driver? What will happen to your insurance premiums?
It is not uncommon to have these and many other questions and concerns following a car accident. Insurance policies are often extremely convoluted, and you cannot rely on your insurance provider to have your best interests at heart. You need to know the facts and understand your options so you can improve your chances of recovering a settlement that truly reflects all of your losses, both financial and personal. The Sawaya Law Firm is here to help.
Medical Injury Costs from Accidents
According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), 32,719 people were killed and another 2.31 million sustained injury in U.S. motor vehicle accidents during a single recent year. This breaks down to one individual losing his or her life every 16 minutes, and 90 people dying in crashes each day. These figures also reveal that at least one person was injured every 14 seconds, and 6,337 people are injured in vehicle accidents per day. This doesn’t even take into account the number of accidents that go unreported each year.
The economic impact of motor vehicle injuries is vast. The National Safety Council reports that the average economic cost per death, injury or collision is as follows:
When you take a more in-depth look, the average economic cost by injury severity was:
The average comprehensive costs relating to a motor vehicle accident broken down by injury severity are much more extensive:
Depending on the type of accident you were involved in, the severity of impact, and injuries suffered, you might find yourself incurring expenses for emergency transport to a hospital, surgeries, rehabilitation, medical treatments, drugs, therapy and other life-saving measures. Future medical expenses required for treatment and care can be a significant amount as well. The RMIIA reports that average auto liability claim for bodily injuries was $15,443.
Auto Body Shop Costs from a Motor Vehicle Accident
The average liability claim for property damage following a motor vehicle accident was $3,231 in one recent year. The average collision claim (for damage caused by colliding with another vehicle, another vehicle colliding with yours, or colliding with a stationary object) was $3,144. Comprehensive claims that year averaged $1,621. These were for damage caused by natural disaster, theft, impact with an animal, broken windshields, falling objects, or “Acts of God.”
What does this mean for you? How much can you expect to pay for damage caused to your vehicle in an auto accident? As long as you have comprehensive coverage, or another driver can be proven to have been at fault in the accident, the majority of your auto repair costs should be covered by insurance. You may have to pay the deductible as set out in your insurance policy, however your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance may cover the cost of repairing your vehicle, replacing it if it was totaled, rental car expenses, towing costs and other damage to personal property.
Your insurance company may suggest an auto body repair shop, but you do not have to use it. The choice is yours. Find a reputable shop where you can get quality repairs done. Do not give in to insurance company intimidation or bad-faith practices. Work closely with your lawyer to make sure you get a fair and just settlement that will cover all your repair costs and other damages.
Other Accident-Related Expenses
In addition to medical expenses and auto repair costs, drivers may experience a car accident’s negative impact in the form of lost productivity, lost wages, and loss of life enjoyment. Accidents can also have a dramatic effect on a victim’s family members and friends. The extent of damages must be accurately determined when estimating auto accident costs.
Even people who weren’t involved in the accident themselves may end up paying, due to traffic delays, lost time at work, increased stress and added frustration.
Increase in Insurance Premiums from an Accident
Insurance companies will often increase a person’s premiums following an accident. According to CBS Money Watch, a recent study has revealed that vehicle owners could find themselves paying up to 41 percent more for auto insurance coverage just by making a single claim valued at around $2,000. Make two claims and your rates could almost double.
Of course, if the accident was not your fault, your premiums should not increase. This is another reason why hiring a skilled attorney is important following an auto accident. You don’t want to end up paying the price, now and for months or years to come, for an accident caused by a negligent driver.
Who Pays for What After an Accident?
If you have been involved in an accident, hiring a skilled Denver motor vehicle accident attorney can significantly improve your chances of recovering the maximum compensation for your case. At our firm, you can trust that we will work diligently to help determine fault and prove negligence on the part of the responsible driver. We do not believe accident victims should be held liable for car accident costs when it was not their actions that caused the accident.
- Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association: Cost of Auto Crashes & Statistics
- National Safety Council: Estimating the Costs of Unintentional Injuries, 2013
- CBS Money Watch: Car Accident? Here’s How Much Your Rates Could Rise
Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.