After any car accident, your first concern has got to be your health and the well-being of those around you. But aside from lingering muscle strain, what about the long-term financial repercussions of a car crash?
The things you need to anticipate in the aftermath of a car accident before accepting any sort of settlement are your medical bills, future medical bills due to lingering injury, lost wages and opportunity costs, the extent of the damage to your car, and your insurance coverage going up in the future.
Although most car insurance plans offer medical coverage up to $25,000 per accident depending on your state and coverage policy, medical expenses are bound to be the biggest single financial stressor of a car accident. An emergency room visit and the ambulance ride you’ll take to get there are extremely expensive.
Future medical costs
Beyond the immediate care you receive, it is common for injuries resulting from car accidents to linger, often requiring follow-up care to manage the pain and fully heal. All of this follow-up work is going to cost money, and you need to consider, based on your injuries and from consulting with a doctor, what some of this follow-up care will involve. From there, you can start to gain a better sense of the future anticipated costs. These could include:
- Physical therapy
- Return doctor’s visits
- Imagery work (x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs)
- Prescription medication costs
Any amount of hospitalization or recovery time at home means time spent away from work. Unless your injury occurred on the job, this means you probably won’t be getting any sort of compensation from your employer.
Property damage is probably the most obvious thing on the list and, most often, this is going to be the item that you can put a price tag on once your vehicle has been into the shop and you’ve gotten a quote from a mechanic.
Where things can get a bit more complicated is when your vehicle is not totalled, but does take enough of a beating that it’s going to knock a few years off its lifespan. This is the case when structural damage is sustained or when a major part of the car requires replacing.
Your insurance premiums are probably going to go up
One aspect that most drivers completely forget about when calculating the costs of a car accident is the fact that their insurance premium is likely to see a substantial spike in the next few months or the following year. This may be the case even if you weren’t at fault!
Different states have different laws when it comes to car insurance premiums and when an insurance provider may or may not raise coverage fees based on accident records. It may be substantial enough that you need to switch insurance companies completely. And if you were at fault, even partially, expect to lose up to a few thousand bucks in insurance costs over the next few years.
What to do after an accident
Dealing with insurance companies can be a nightmare, particularly after you’ve had a traumatic experience. You should also not feel pressured into entering any settlement agreements, which, while they may promise a quick payout, may not cover all of your expenses down the line. Choosing an experienced lawyer means the car accident compensation might arrive earlier.
Furthermore, having an attorney representing you with the insurance companies could get you a higher settlement offer, even if you don’t end up choosing to take your case to court.