The High Costs of Oklahoma Car Accidents
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says an average visit to the emergency room after a car accident costs $3,300. Being hospitalized after a car accident costs an injured person an average of $57,000 over their lifetime. Of course, “average” means that the cost is often much higher in serious accident.
Overall, crash injuries cost Americans $18 billion in 2012, with 75 percent of costs incurred in the first 18 months after the accident, the CDC says.
In addition, Americans injured in car accidents in 2012 will lose $33 billion in income over the rest of their lives due to inability to work. The income loss due to fatal car accidents is invariably higher, since many disabled persons can and do return to work.
The cost of being seriously injured in a car accident can ruin an individual or family. The median annual household income in Oklahoma from 2009 to 2013 was $45,339, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2013 in Oklahoma, 678 people died in traffic fatalities and 33,721 were injured, according to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Fatalities include deaths within 30 days of a traffic accident, so many of the fatalities can be presumed to include hospital care that surviving family members would be left to settle.
If every Oklahoman injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2013 required hospitalization, at $57,000 each, the cost would have been more than $19.2 million. Emergency room costs alone for each person injured would top $1.1 million at the $3,300 average.
Though most statistical reports about motor vehicle crashes rightly focus on personal injuries and deaths, the Oklahoma report also shows 46,007 “property damage only crashes,” in which someone bore the costs of repairing, replacing, or doing without their damaged motor vehicle.
The CDC says the best way to keep people safe and reduce medical costs is to prevent crashes from happening in the first place. The report advocates several interventions for preventing crashes, including enforcement of laws requiring seat belts and child safety seats, requiring ignition interlocks for people convicted of drinking and driving, establishing sobriety checkpoints, and graduated licensing programs for new drivers.
But once a crash has occurred and an injury (and/or property damage) has been sustained, the injured individual’s focus obviously turns to recovery and, unfortunately, how they will cover the medical bills and other unexpected expenses.
Because the costs of serious injuries can be so high and, as the CDC points out, may continue for a lifetime, we at Burch, George & Germany, P.C. generally advise our car accident clients to allow time to see what the total costs will be before accepting an insurance settlement. You don’t want to accept an insurance settlement that underestimates your medical costs.
Our attorneys are interested in seeing that Oklahoma accident victims receive all of the compensation they need and deserve when they have been injured. This requires investigating the accident and the crash victim’s injuries, analyzing recovery prospects, and projecting future costs. In most cases, it also requires pressing insurance companies to do what’s right.
If we can provide that kind of help to you or to someone you care about, contact us for a free discussion of your case today.
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