Those involved in major motor vehicle collisions in West Virginia often focus on the short-term consequences of the crash immediately after it occurs. They worry about getting to work without a vehicle or missing work for doctor or therapy appointments. It will only be after someone overcomes those immediate challenges that they may start to consider the long-term implications of their injuries.
Every case is different. However, national research demonstrates that on average, crashes that cause “evident” injuries lead to an average of $40,000 in losses, while crashes that cause disabling injuries lead to an average of $155,000 in costs for the affected party. These are a few of the different factors that contribute to the major price tag for crashes that leave people hurt or disabled.
There are certain losses related to a crash that are obvious from the earliest moments after the collision occurs. For example, people know it will cost thousands of dollars to fix their vehicle and even more to buy a new one if theirs is no longer safe to drive. There will also be the medical expenses someone has after they seek evaluation of and treatment for their injuries at a medical facility. Although many folks who are injured have health insurance, many find it difficult to come up with money for co-pays and deductibles for weeks and weeks of treatment. All of these immediate costs can often add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more depending on the severity of someone’s injury and numerous other factors.
When someone gets hurt and requires medical care, they may not be able to go to work for several days or or more depending on the severity of their injuries. Although the losses from missing work end when the person is released to return to work, the loss of household income during the time the injured person is off work can be significant and affects the entire family who depends on that income.
Lost earning potential
When someone suffers a disabling injury that will permanently alter their capabilities, their ability to earn money in the future may decline significantly. Someone who loses a limb, for example, may need to change from a job in a factory where they made a competitive wage to a basic job at the local grocery store making minimum wage. The lost earning potential associated with medical limitations, including the value of benefits and future promotions, can significantly contribute to the long-term economic impact of a collision.
Understanding the numerous issues that can cause financial losses following a crash helps with the process of establishing a total cost for a collision and negotiating for compensation. Victims who seek legal guidance proactively place themselves in a particularly informed position to make decisions about their circumstances in this regard.