One of the first questions that will probably cross your mind after being involved in a car accident is “How much is this going to cost me?” Auto accidents affect people in different ways which is why we can’t really generalize the financial effects of a car crash as they will depend upon the person’s injuries, their insurance coverage, and the damage their vehicle sustained, among other factors.
However, there are a few possible financial repercussions of automobile accidents that all drivers should be aware of.
Increased Insurance Premiums
Certain expenses may not be covered by your auto insurance policy which means that even if both you and the other party involved in the accident have insurance, you may still be required to pay a deductible.
The deductible, according to brookslawgroup.com, can vary from one policy to another which is why you need to consult with a reliable personal injury attorney to accurately calculate the damages, understand the uncovered expenses, and identify all the possible options for pursuing compensation. In addition to the deductible, you should also expect to pay more for the same policy when it’s time for your auto insurance renewal.
Most insurance companies increase the insurance holder’s premium after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. The increased premium amount depends on several factors including the cost of your settlement claim and the factors contributing to the accident, but on average the increase is about $658 per year. Considering that most insurance providers will charge you for up to three years after an accident, this number adds up to be more than $1,974 in total fees. This is why it is important to think about the overall cost of this penalty for filing a claim versus what that same claim would cost you to pay out-of-pocket. In many unfortunate situations, people file their claim before considering this, at which point the raised claim rate has already created a heaping financial burden for them on top of the other expenses that come with car accidents. This makes it hard for lots of people to afford insurance after their accident. Doing plenty of research and getting auto insurance quotes (through a comparison engine like The Zebra) before deciding on a plan is always wise, and could help to avoid getting hit with additional costs you aren’t prepared to pay after an accident.
Vehicle Damages and Repairs
Almost all car accidents involve a certain amount of vehicular damage. If your car suffers major mechanical or cosmetic damage, the cost of the repairs will depend on your car’s pre-collision actual cash value (ACV). Normally, an insurance provider will pay for the repairs if they cost less than the car’s ACV.
On the other hand, if the sum of the cost of repair combined with the salvage value of your car exceeds its ACV, then it’s usually considered a total loss and, in this case, you’ll be compensated for the current value of your car. If you want to keep the totaled vehicle, your insurance company might allow it, but then, you’ll receive a smaller settlement and you’ll have to pay for the repairs yourself.
Alternative Transportation Costs
If your car is considered a total loss after the accident or if you’re currently awaiting repairs, you might find yourself facing a lack of personal transportation. In this case, even if your physical injuries didn’t prevent you from working, the absence of a reliable means of transportation to and from your place of work can jeopardize your current source of income.
Moreover, living without a car (even if it’s temporary) can also make it difficult for you to complete your basic daily chores and errands. To keep up with your personal and professional obligations, you’ll probably incur additional expenses related to finding an alternative means of transportation, whether it’s a taxi, a bus, a rental car, or any other suitable option.
Costly Medical Expenses
The cost of medical treatment for the injuries sustained in auto accidents usually takes the biggest toll on afflicted individuals. The cost of immediate medical care following an auto accident is generally quite substantial, but if a person suffers from severe injuries that require surgery, hospitalization, or ongoing medical attention, the expenses can be utterly devastating.
If the accident isn’t your fault, the other driver will be required to pay your medical bills. However, the other party involved won’t pay for your medical treatment right away. Instead, you’ll have to wait until you’ve finished all the medical treatments before filing a claim with the guilty party’s insurance. Depending on the severity of your injuries, it could take days, weeks, months, or even years before the doctors conclude your medical treatment and until they do, you’ll need to pay for the cost of medical treatment yourself.
Long-Term Financial Repercussions
Even if the insurance company covers 100% of your vehicle’s repairs and your medical bills, other costs may still arise after a crash. For instance, if a car accident victim sustains serious injuries that prevent them from working at full capacity either temporarily or permanently, then the lost wages should also be considered. When assessing the costs of lost income, many factors come into play including the victim’s average monthly wages, their work experience, their educational background, and the total number of years they would’ve likely worked.
Besides the steady income, a victim of a car crash may provide their dependents with a wide variety of services like mowing the lawn, dropping the children to school, and running daily errands.
If the person can no longer fulfill their responsibilities because of their injuries, the cost of replacing these services can quickly add up. Not all insurance providers will cover these losses and in such a case, you’ll have to file a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the accident to get the necessary funds for childcare, alternative transportation, etc.
In the event of a serious physical disability following an auto accident, the victim’s home may need to undergo extensive modifications to accommodate their unique needs when it comes to moving around the house, using the shower, etc. The remodeling costs can be very expensive and insurance may not cover it all.
As you can see, the financial effects of a car crash can be quite devastating which is why the smartest step to take after an accident is to hire an experienced attorney who can help you understand the full financial extent of your damages.
It’s a common mistake for auto accident victims to underestimate the total cost of a crash, often leading them to make unwise decisions that can take a huge bite out of their savings and possibly even result in total financial ruin. To control your financial losses, be sure to consult with a professional car accident attorney who can represent your best interests regardless of the cause of your car crash.