A car accident with serious injuries causes a double-whammy of financial difficulty: Hefty medical bills and other expenses pile up while your injuries reduce your income by keeping you out of work and in pain. Filing a legal claim for damages can help you recoup some of the costs and losses caused by your car accident.
Wondering how much your car accident claim is worth? There is no single answer to that question, because every claim is different. Here, however, are some of the factors that figure into the “value” of a typical car accident claim.
Your Medical Care Costs
A legal claim relating to car accident injuries seeks to recover all of the healthcare-related costs associated with your injuries. This typically includes:
- Ambulance transport. That ride to the emergency department may cost more than you might imagine. Many accident victims receive surprise bills for thousands of dollars after a single ambulance ride. Even if you do not live in an area where ambulance costs cause serious financial hardship, your ambulance ride may still leave you with an unexpected bill for at least several hundred dollars.
- Emergency care. A single trip to the emergency room, without insurance, could cost you as much as $3,000, even for outpatient care. The severity of your injuries, including what scans and treatment you need, can have a significant impact on those costs, although not always. For example, the cost of X-rays and care for a simple broken arm can run well over $1,000.
- Hospitalization. On average, a five-day stay in the hospital could cost as much as $10,000. If you require a stay in the ICU or need surgery or specialized treatment, your costs may increase exponentially. The longer you stay in the hospital for your injuries, the more your costs will increase.
- Procedures and treatments. Surgical treatment for a broken leg can range between $17,000 and $35,000. More complicated procedures, including those required after a spinal cord injury, can increase your medical costs exponentially.
- Therapy. Without insurance, physical therapy costs an average of $75-150 per session. Even if you have insurance, your health insurance company may pose limits on the amount of physical therapy you can have each year. After a serious injury, you may need more therapy than your insurance company allows, leaving you facing high out of pocket costs. After a serious accident, including an accident that resulted in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or amputation, you may also need substantial occupational therapy to help restore your independence.
In general, the more severe your injuries, the higher the medical costs you face after a serious accident. Even minor injuries can leave you with substantial medical bills to pay off at a difficult time in your life. More serious injuries, on the other hand, may have ongoing high medical costs that can impact the rest of your life. Lawyers typically include all of those costs—past, present, and future—in a car accident personal injury claim.
Medical care, however, represents just one aspect of medical-related expenses after a car accident. Your injury may also saddle you with ancillary costs that are necessary for your treatment and recovery. These often include:
- Durable medical equipment. Crutches, braces, and other items prescribed by a doctor find their way onto medical bills, sometimes at a markup. Other items, including shower chairs or hospital beds necessary if you want to return home to recover, may require separate purchases from a medical supply company. Experienced lawyers know to include all of these expenses in your claim for damages after a car accident.
- Prosthetic devices. Some unfortunate car accident victims sustain horrific injuries that cause them to lose a limb. In those cases, the victims need a prosthetic limb to recover their independence and to return to a (new) “normal” life. The average prosthesis lasts for about three years. Many amputees also find that they need to replace their prosthetic devices within the first year after amputation, as the shape of the stump changes. Even with insurance, obtaining and maintaining a prosthesis can saddle an accident victim with significant costs which a personal injury lawsuit can help to defray.
- Home modifications and transportation services. Some serious car crash injuries inflict physical limitations—and associated costs—that remain with you for the rest of your life. An injury that confines you to a wheelchair, for example, comes with the cost of not just the wheelchair itself, but also the expense of modifying the width of doorways in your home, installing a wheelchair ramp, and renovating your bathroom to make independent living possible. Similarly, you may need to pay someone to transport you, or to modify your car to allow you to get around on your own. Lawyers for permanently incapacitated accident victims will typically seek to recover damages for their clients that cover the estimated lifetime costs of these various modifications.
Even an accident that causes merely minor injuries can force you to miss substantial time at work. Lost wages can add up quickly, especially when you already face high costs after your accident. With more serious injuries, you may struggle to return to work for weeks or months, if at all. Pain medications, head injuries, and limitations from your injuries can all make it difficult for you to complete your job responsibilities. Attorneys work to recover not just past lost wages, but also estimated lost future wages, for victims of car crashes.
The Amount of Insurance Available
In Nevada, drivers must carry at least $25,000 in bodily injury liability insurance coverage per individual injured in an accident. That amount of money doesn’t go very far at today’s health exorbitant care costs. Unfortunately, however, if that is the only insurance available to pay your legal claim, then that may represent the claim’s maximum value.
Why a Car Accident Lawyer Can Make All the Difference in Your Claim
One reason it is important to hire an attorney after a car accident is that attorneys know how to evaluate a legal claim to identify all of the potential sources of payment you might pursue for damages.
Practically speaking, a car accident claim that seeks damages from multiple parties or insurance policies can recover more compensation than a claim with only one party or insurance policy as a source of funds.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, make sure you get the maximum compensation available.
Contact a car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible so that attorney can start working on your behalf.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101