Motor vehicle crashes inflict bruises, fractures, disfigurement, and pain and suffering on victims. These and other personal injuries can also come with a high price tag and threaten your family’s finances. Below are four ways that a motor vehicle accident can result in financial ruin if you don’t get adequate compensation.
Death and the Resulting Loss of Resources
No one expects to lose a loved one in a crash, but it happens all too often. The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration reports that 36,096 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2019. In addition to this, many more people became disabled and permanently lost their ability to work.
Often, with fatal accidents come a significant loss of income for the deceased’s spouse, children or household. Without those earnings, the survivors have difficulty making mortgage or car payments.
Repossessions, foreclosures, and estate claims that can deplete the inheritance of the survivors might follow for the survivors unless the decedent had life insurance. If the deceased was not at fault in an accident that caused their death, their survivors can pursue claims for wrongful death from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
You can also recover as wrongful death damages the following economic losses or financial expenses:
- The expenses of the decedent’s final medical attention and treatment
- Funeral bills and expenses
- Lost inheritance from an untimely or premature death
In the last type of damage, the survivors can recover the value of the investments, contributions and other reasonably expected additions to a decedent’s estate had the decedent achieved life expectancy.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
Even if you survive a crash, your injuries might keep you out of work for weeks or even months. These lost wages may result in you becoming delinquent on utility and other bills and mortgage or car loan payments, especially if your time away from the job is extensive.
For more serious injuries, such as fractures, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries, you face the prospect of lost earning capacity. That is, you’re not able to work as you did before the crash.
According to a journal article published in 2019, only 35 percent of victims of traumatic spinal cord injuries resumed regular employment. Among that group, nearly one in four filed bankruptcy. The report says that, since 2010, motor vehicle crashes accounted for 38 percent of traumatic spinal cord injuries.
In considering your lost earning capacity, a car accident lawyer will present and a court will consider factors such as your:
- Employment history
- Type and extent of disability
The opinions of physicians and vocational rehabilitation specialists can help establish your disability and your lost earning capacity. For instance, personal injury lawyers review medical and vocational rehabilitation records for evidence that traumatic brain injuries have impaired your memory.
Physical injuries may reduce the amount of lifting or other physical labor you can perform. This means it will also limit the types of jobs you can perform.
The Cost of Medicine and Treatment
Medical records and bills also afford evidence of the past and future medical expenses. A motor vehicle crash can generate for you costs for:
- Ambulance or airlift transport to the hospital
- Emergency room visit
- Inpatient and outpatient care in the hospital
- Physicians’ visits
Consider that, by some reports, surgeries for traumatic spinal cord injuries run about $50,000 per patient. The average per-patient price tag for even non-surgical pain management via medications stands at a reported $30,000.
Replacing the Vehicle
In pure dollar terms, the damage to your vehicle may total just a fraction of the medical expenses. However, having to replace a vehicle also inflicts financial harm upon you.
If your vehicle is totaled, the at-fault driver (or insurer) must compensate you for the vehicle’s fair market value at the time of the crash. You also have the right to file a claim for compensation for your medical bills and any salary you missed. Click on the link to learn how to protect your rights in the aftermath of a car accident.
Initially, you should not sign documents from the driver’s insurance company, especially settlement checks. What you sign might deprive you of any chance to pursue adequate compensation for your injuries in the future.
Instead of agreeing to a fast, lowball settlement, contact a personal injury lawyer who will gather the evidence you need to win your case and get adequate compensation. Your attorney will fight to make sure you get the funds you need to heal and move forward.