What Are Some of the Biggest Expenses After a Car Accident?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Sara Williams with Alexander Shunnarah Injury Attorneys, P.C..
Car accidents are stressful and frightening even before the expenses begin. Not only can the physical damages of a car accident last for years or even a lifetime after the fact, but the financial damages that go along with those injuries can be equally long-lasting. This is why it’s important to explore every option for recovery following an accident.
In addition to auto and health insurance, if another party’s negligence played a role in the accident, such as another driver committing a traffic violation, it may be possible to seek compensation via a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Some of the biggest expenses that can arise after a car accident include:
- Emergency medical bills
- Ongoing medical bills
- Lost wages from the injured person
- Lost wages from a family member who stays home to care for the injured person
- Impairment of earning capacity following an injury
- Loss of chosen profession if the injury prevents them from returning to their job of choice
- Cost of ongoing physical/emotional therapy
- In-home care or living expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement
The severity of the accident and resulting injuries will play a big part in the overall expenses.
A smaller vehicle accident with only a few minor injuries will typically not be as expensive as a more catastrophic accident with injuries that could be long-lasting or even permanently debilitating. However, assessing the severity of an accident is harder than it seems.
Some damages may not be apparent at first glance, and may even take weeks, months, or even years to arise. For example, someone may suffer an injury that feels minor at the time, only to later find that the injury worsens and/or becomes chronic, so that it interferes with daily life and requires repeat treatments. This is also why it is highly recommended to seek medical care as soon as possible following an accident, regardless of how big or little the accident seems.
An accident attorney may identify additional expenses you weren’t expecting.
Some expenses may not be obvious; this is why it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced car accident attorney before accepting any sort of settlement offer. It’s unfortunately not uncommon for someone to accept a settlement offer following a car accident only to later find that the money has run out and the expenses haven’t.
An experienced car accident attorney can help you figure out what to expect both from your physical recovery and your financial situation. These attorneys may even identify additional damages that should be added to your claim. For example, if someone’s injuries following a car accident prevent them from returning to work in the same capacity as before, it may be possible to add “impairment of earning capacity” to the lawsuit’s damages in addition to lost wages
Don’t accept a settlement without talking to an attorney.
A good way to avoid finding yourself short-changed following an accident settlement is to reach out to a car accident attorney for a case assessment prior to accepting any settlement offers. In most cases, after someone has accepted a settlement offer, they waive their right to pursue further litigation. However, the offer may only account for the expenses that immediately arose due to the accident and might not acknowledge the future expenses that are likely to continue or begin further down the road.
The good news is that talking to a car accident attorney does not have to count as an expense at all. Most car accident attorneys offer free consultations and even work on contingency, which means clients don’t pay for their services unless and until they win their case. This allows car accident victims and their families to focus on healing, recovery, and identifying a fair amount for compensation rather than worrying about one more bill to add to the pile.
To learn more about what to expect after a car accident, or for help investigating your claim, reach out to an experienced car accident attorney in your area.