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Understanding the costs of car accidents

There are many costs associated with car accidents, including the highest cost, which is human life; however, the loss of productivity and the costs associated with medical treatment are significant for surviving victims as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that during 2010, car accidents resulted in $1 trillion in loss of productivity and loss of life which, of course, has an impact on communities and society as a whole. In 2013, there were over 5.5 million car accidents reported to police, and that same year, over 1.5 million resulted in injuries to victims.

In addition, medical expenses reported by victims of car accidents are increasing at a higher rate than inflation. In 2013, for example, the average insurance claim for bodily injury suffered in a car accident was $15,443. An insurance study also reveals that while the costs reported by victims as a result of injuries suffered in a car accident have gone up, the severity of injuries has, overall, has gone down. The costs associated with car accidents are paid primarily by insurance companies who are commonly involved in compensating victims and their families when a personal injury or wrongful death claim for damages is made.

Occupants of passenger vehicles, pedestrians and bicycle riders are all at an increased risk. A number of different driver behaviors, which may all be considered negligence, account for the cause of car accidents. Driving under the influence, speeding, red-light running, driving while fatigued, distracted driving and cell phone use, such as texting and driving, among other behaviors, can all carelessly contribute to a car accident. When a negligent driver has caused a car accident that results in harm to victims, they may be liable for the damages caused.

Victims may be able to recover compensation for the harm associated with a car accident, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering damages. It is important for victims to know how to obtain compensation for the physical, financial and emotional damages they will likely be left facing following a car accident.

Source: Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, "Cost of Auto Crashes & Statistics," Accessed Dec. 12, 2016

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