Car crash victims are often pressured to accept the initial settlement offered by the insurance company after the accident. However, a victim should not accept a settlement until the true cost of the crash, including the long-term consequences if the injuries are known.
Settling Too Soon Can Be Costly
Insurance companies often try to minimize the losses associated with an accident. The company may rush to offer a settlement to a crash victim who is receiving medical treatment before the extent of the injuries is known. If the victim’s injuries have kept him or her from working, the financial stress caused by loss of income might tempt the person to settle more quickly.
Settling too soon could set the crash victim up for greater financial problems in the future. Additional medical bills may arise or the victim may be unable to work in his or her current career. Unless the settlement allows the individual to reopen it should future complications arise, the injured party may be on the hook for future medical bills.
Considering All Costs of a Car Crash
Approximately 6 million car crashes occur each year in the United States. Out of those accidents, 3 million people are injured, with 2 million sustaining permanent injuries. An injury could cost thousands of dollars between medical treatments and recovery.
The National Safety Council has determined the calculable costs of a car crash. These costs include loss of income and productivity, medical expenses, vehicle expenses, administrative costs, and employers’ uninsured costs. According to the NSC, the average economic costs per person for crashes with the following results are:
- Death: $1,615,000
- Physical disabilities: $93,800
- Evident injuries: $27,000
- Possible injuries: $22,300
- No injuries: $11,900
- Property damage only: $4,400 per vehicle
Comprehensive Expenses Need to Be Considered
The true cost of a car crash goes beyond economic expenses. There are noneconomic costs to consider as well, such as pain and suffering, permanent disability, trauma, and loss of a loved one. These costs may not be fully apparent when a settlement is offered too soon and do not fully cover the victim’s compensation.
The average total costs for someone who becomes disabled because of a crash-related injury may be as high as $1,155,000. In the event of evident injury, costs might average $318,000, while possible injuries could average $147,000. A crash resulting in death could average more than $10,000,000 in comprehensive costs.