The costs of an auto accident often go well beyond what it takes to repair your car or the cost of being treated in a hospital emergency room. Depending on the severity of the accident, where it takes place, lost wages, and potential increases in insurance premiums, actual costs can vary, and become overwhelming.
According to a 2021 study done by the National Safety Council (NSC), which analyzed such factors as wage and productivity losses, medical expenses, administrative costs, motor-vehicle damage, and employers’ uninsured costs, the cost for ALL these items in the following cases were:
- Death – $1,778,000
- Disabling Injury – $155,000
- Evident Injury – $40,000
- Possible Injury – $24,000
- No Injury – $6,700
- Property damage Only – $5,700
To get a better idea of the overall cost of an accident, consider the following categorical estimates:
This can range dramatically based on the nature and severity of the injuries:
- Minor Injuries (e.g., whiplash, cuts): $500 – $10,000
- Moderate Injuries (e.g., fractures, certain head injuries): $10,000 – $50,000
- Severe or Catastrophic Injuries (e.g., traumatic brain injuries, paralysis): $50,000 – several million dollars.
Vehicle Repair or Replacement
- Minor damage (e.g., “fender bender”): $500 – $1,000
- Moderate Damage: $1,500 – $4,500
- Severe Damage/Total Loss: $5,000 and up, depending on value of the vehicle
This is contingent on the severity of the injury and the amount of time one is away from work. For example, if an individual earns $52,000 annually, and misses a week of work, they would lose approximately $1,000 in wages.
Increased Insurance Premiums
After an accident, especially one where you’re at fault, you can expect your insurance premiums to rise. The increase can range from anywhere from 20% to 100% or more, based on the severity of the accident, your driving history, and other factors. Over a few years, this increase can total several thousand dollars or more.
Will Insurance Cover All Car Accident Costs?
In the state of Florida, we use a no-fault auto insurance system. However, there is often confusion about what this means, particularly concerning what the no-fault insurance will actually cover.
Florida no-fault insurance is designed to help individuals recover compensation quicker after an accident occurs by eliminating the requirement to determine fault to recover compensation. When individuals get into vehicle accidents in Florida, they typically turn to their own insurance carrier to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and replacement services. However, this does not cover all of those items.
In Florida, no-fault insurance will pay 80% of medical bills, 60% of lost wages, and 80% of any necessary replacement services arising due to the loss of ability caused by the accident. Individuals will be on the line to cover what the no-fault insurance does not pay for. No-fault insurance will pay out compensation up to the limits of the policy, the minimum of which is currently $10,000.
Can You File a Claim or Lawsuit Against Another Driver After an Accident?
In most situations, individuals will not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against another driver after a vehicle accident occurs in Florida. However, written into the no-fault auto insurance laws are specific thresholds that, once they are met, will allow an injury victim to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party.
The tort thresholds in Florida affect the no-fault injury law by allowing individuals to move forward with a claim when they otherwise would not be able to. There are four types of injury thresholds written into Florida law, which include:
- Permanent injury
- Severe scarring or disfigurement
- Severe or permanent loss of a major bodily function
There is no exact rule written into law defining how severe an injury must be before a person has the ability to move forward with a claim outside of the no-fault insurance. However, as a quick example of what may cross the threshold, we can look at the difference between a bruise or a sprain caused by an accident and an actual broken bone. Typically, a broken bone would rise above the serious injury threshold, whereas A sprain or bruise would not.
Let us imagine for a moment that an individual incurs $25,000 worth of medical bills due to a vehicle accident caused by another driver. If the victim carries the minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection and $5,000 in medical payments coverage, then their insurance would cover up to $15,000 in medical bills. To receive the additional $10,000, the individual may be able to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. If the at-fault driver did not have insurance when the crash occurred, an injury victim can turn to their own uninsured motorist coverage if they carry this type of coverage.
It can become very challenging to recover additional compensation once your insurance limits are exhausted. We strongly encourage you to contact a skilled car accident attorney who can walk you through this process to help you recover additional compensation as needed for your particular situation.
Call GOLDLAW to get the representation You Deserve!
A car accident can be a devastating experience, so it’s essential to know your rights and what actions you need to take to protect yourself both physically and legally. The West Palm Beach car accident lawyers at GOLDLAW are here to help.
- We have the financial resources smaller firms don’t, allowing us to battle the insurance industry.
- We have experienced, board-certified lawyers that handle ONLY personal injury cases.
- We have served the legal needs and supported the West Palm Beach community for over 20 years. We live here, and are locally owned and operated. GOLDLAW truly cares about your well-being.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, contact GOLDLAW today or call 561-222-2222 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyers.