Car accidents are no joke. If you’re unlucky, they can permanently alter the course of your life through physical, mental, emotional, and financial damage.
According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the total value of societal harm from car crashes in 2010 was $836 billion.
In this article, we’ll focus on five major ways that a car crash can impact your personal finances. That way, you know some of what’s at stake and are more likely to drive safely.
- 1 Medical expense
If you get hurt in a car accident, chances are you will incur some medical expenses. These can range quite a bit. For example, you may end up paying for a hospital ride, the initial hospital visit, follow-up appointments, prescription medications, surgery, ongoing therapy and counseling, and even care for long-term disabilities.
Serious surgeries and life-long care can put your medical bills well into the tens and hundreds of thousands.
Hopefully, you have insurance that will cover most of these costs. But if not, you’ll definitely want to consult an experienced auto accident attorney. They can help you get the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver.
- 2 Lost wages
On top of medical expenses, your income may suffer. It may take some time to recover from your injuries before you can return to work, and every day that you don’t work is money lost.
In worst-case scenarios, you may be left with a longer or even lifetime disability. This can be devastating to your finances, especially if you don’t have disability insurance. But even then, long-term disability insurance typically only replaces somewhere between 40% to 70% of your income.
This means you may struggle to pay your bills and to provide for any dependents (like your family). If you’re unable to make ends meet, you may lose your home, get evicted, and go bankrupt—all of which will in turn ruin your credit score and make it harder for you to get loans in the future.
- 3 Higher auto insurance premiums
After the car crash, your auto insurance premiums will likely go up, even if you are only partially to blame. That’s because insurers ascribe higher risk to you now that you’ve been involved in an accident.
Some auto insurance companies may even refuse to give you coverage, which means you’ll be limited in your insurance options.
- 4 Vehicle repair (or replacement) costs
As for your car involved in the accident, it will likely need to be repaired. This will not only cost you money but it may leave you without a ride. You’ll have to rely on someone else’s car, public transit, or other transportation methods to get around (all of which tend to cost money).
In addition, sometimes your car will have been so damaged in the accident that it’s not worth repairing (i.e. it’s been totaled). In that case, you’ll need to buy a new car to replace it, which can cost even more money.
- 5 Legal fees
Lastly, depending on the nature of the car accident, you may incur legal fees. Auto accident attorneys charge for their services, after all. However, they usually work on a contingency basis, which means they’ll only charge you a portion of whatever settlement you win. If you lose, you won’t owe them anything.
An experienced auto accident attorney can help you minimize the financial toll of a car accident by protecting you from insurance companies who may try to talk you into accepting a low settlement and by representing you in court. Find a highly-rated local car accident attorney to do the job well.
Adding it all up
As you can see, the cost of getting in a car accident can add up fast. Between the medical expenses, lost wages, higher auto insurance premiums, vehicle repair (or replacement) costs, and legal fees, you’ll have a lot to worry about.
That’s why it’s best to always have auto insurance and try to avoid getting in a car accident in the first place by following all traffic laws and driving defensively. It’s easy to do and it can save you a ton of money!