How Expensive Are Car Accidents?
While some accidents are preventable or avoidable, it’s not always possible. In 2017, there 6.452 million vehicle crashes in the U.S. Of those crashes, more than 4.5 million caused property damage. Another 1.889 million caused personal injuries.
Back in 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation took a thorough look at the cost of vehicle accidents in the nation. That report was revised and updated in 2015. At that point, it was estimated that motor vehicle crashes cost $242 billion. That didn’t include things like loss of income and changes to the quality of life. When those aspects were factored in, the NHTSA estimated the total cost of accidents to be $836 billion.
Taking the average number of yearly crashes and the estimated cost, it comes to each accident costing around $129,570. Clearly, there are factors that weigh on the true cost. A crash with multiple cars and fatalities will cost more than a single-car crash with no injuries.
What Goes Into the Estimated Cost of a Car Accident?
When it comes to calculating the cost of a motor vehicle accident, several factors are considered. There is the value of the medical bills related to injuries, the cost to repair or replace the vehicles, and any personal property (fences, mailboxes, etc.) that were damaged in the crash.
There’s more to it than that. You have the salaries of the officers, paramedics, and firefighters who are called to the scene. There is damage to the road, trees, phone poles, and signs. You have congestion that keeps workers, truck drivers, and other drivers from getting to their location on time. If a section of the interstate has to be closed while the accident is investigated and cleared, you can lose toll booth revenues, too. Finally, you have lost wages, pain and suffering, and legal costs.
What Are the Most Expensive Aspects of a Crash?
Medical bills drive up the total cost of an accident. Severe injuries that require surgical repair will drive up costs. Generally, the most common injuries after a car crash are head injuries, whiplash, broken legs or arms, bruising, and lacerations.
Using rates listed by Cedars-Sinai, these are the average amounts billed to insurance companies for different medical treatments and tests.
- Chest Trauma – $127,000 to $162,000
- CT Scan – $4,600 (head/brain) or $5,500 (abdomen or pelvis)
- Emergency Room Visit – $3,300 to $7,100 (depending on severity of the injuries)
- IV Fluids (Lactated Ringers) – $380
- MRI – $10,600 (head/brain)
- Ultrasound – $1,300 to $2,480
- X-Rays – $900 to $1,200
That’s the medical aspect of a crash. What about the cost of common car repairs after a crash? It varies from one make/model to another. These are some of the typical expenses given by mechanics across the U.S.
Air Bags – If the airbags deploy in a crash, they’ll have to be replaced. It can cost as much as $6,000 on some models to replace the airbags and sensors.
Bumper – In a crash, the front or rear bumper is likely to take the brunt of the impact. It can cost over $1,000 to replace a bumper. In addition to the new bumper, there may be lights and sensors that have to be replaced. That will drive up the labor costs and cost of the parts.
Doors – Side crashes may bend or dent the doors. Severe damage will keep the door from closing. Minor dents and scratches can usually be repaired for a few hundred dollars. Replacing a door often costs a couple thousand depending on the model.
Fender – The fenders are the sections of metal or fiberglass around the wheel well. Fenders often get damaged during a side-impact crash. On average, you can expect the parts to cost up to $700, but labor and painting can easily double that price.
Hood – The hood may crumple in a crash. This makes it impossible to shut. If it has to be replaced, it may cost $1,000 or more. You have the paint costs on top of that.
Tires – Tires and rims may get punctured or bent in a crash. New tires and rims vary in price. The size of the tire and rim dictate the cost. It can cost hundreds for one tire and rim.
Trunk – If the trunk lid is damaged, the trunk won’t latch. The door itself may cost just under $1,000 when installed and painted, but there are also the lights to consider. Those need to be hooked up and ensured everything is working and the wiring is okay.
Is Your Settlement Offer Fair?
Depending on your state’s laws, you’ll file a claim with your insurance or with the other driver’s insurance company. This starts the process rolling. Once you have heard back and have a settlement offer, call Carpenter & Zuckerman. The offer you receive may not be ideal. You may miss more work than the insurance company estimates or you struggle to find a car you like that’s in the same shape your car was.
With the attorneys at Carpenter & Zuckerman representing you, you’ll be confident that you’re getting a fair and reasonable settlement. Call 888-CZR-FIRST for free legal advice regarding your car accident.
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