The High Costs of Car Accident Injuries
July 12, 2021
The costs incurred by car accident injuries in the United States are staggering. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the collective lifetime medical cost of crash injuries to Americans is estimated to be $18.4 billion dollars. The lifetime cost of loss-of-work is even higher, estimated to be $32.9 billion dollars.
Each year, millions of Americans go to the emergency room to be treated for motor vehicle accident injuries. Many car accident victims underestimate the high lifetime cost of their injuries. However, individuals involved in car accidents can protect their rights by contacting the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP.
Why are Car Accidents Expensive?
Car accidents are expensive because of the high cost of health care and the impact on an injured person’s ability to earn a living. Americans spend more than one million days in the hospital each year from crash injuries, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Officials report that each emergency room visit after a car accident costs around $3,300 on average. However, that is only the beginning of related expenses.
Lifetime costs for surgery, hospitalization, and rehabilitation can range in the millions of dollars for catastrophic injuries. Lost wages due to the inability to work compound the financial hardship of getting into a severe car accident with long-term effects.
Which Car Accident Injuries Have Long-Term Effects?
Car accident injuries with long-term effects include but are not limited to the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Arm and leg trauma resulting in amputation
- Ligament damage
- Nerve damage and chronic pain
Many patients with these injuries show little or no improvement several years or more after the accident. Repeated surgeries, hospitalizations, and other expensive treatments may be ongoing for a lifetime. Oftentimes, individuals with these injuries are never able to return to work.
What are the Outcomes for Brain Injury Victims?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most individuals who suffer TBIs do not show improvement five years after injury. The outcomes for individuals with TBI are as follows:
- More than half of TBI victims will either get worse or pass away within five years of suffering the injury.
- About one-fourth of all TBI patients stay the same.
- Only 26 percent of individuals suffering from a TBI will improve within five years.
According to research from Northwestern University, the lifetime cost for treating TBI runs from $85,000 to $3 million dollars. The unemployment rate for individuals two years after their TBI diagnosis is 60 percent, compared to the national unemployment rate of about five percent.
How Much Do Spinal Cord Injuries Cost?
Spinal cord injuries collectively cost Americans more than $9 billion dollars each year, according to the CDC. Car accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries.
Spinal cord injuries are expensive because they affect the body’s ability to send and receive messages from the brain to areas below the site of the injury. The possible long-term primary and secondary effects of spinal cord injuries include but are not limited to the following:
- Permanent paralysis. This may affect the person’s ability to breathe on their own or use their arms or legs.
- Bladder and bowel problems, including urinary tract infections.
- Muscle spasms and stiffness.
- Chronic pain and depression.
Individuals with spinal cord injuries also face a high risk of developing secondary medical complications, including pressure ulcers, deep vein thrombosis, and pneumonia. The risk of pressure ulcers increases steadily during the first year after the injury.
What is the Cost of Living for an Amputee?
Persons who seriously injure their arms or legs due to a car crash may end up losing their limbs due to tissue damage or infection weeks or months after the accident. Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy recently reported that the average lifetime cost for an amputation is $509,272. The cost of living for an amputee may include the following expenses:
- Ongoing physical therapy
- Purchasing wheelchairs or other assistive devices
- Adding ramps to house entrances
- Remodeling bathrooms to make them handicapped-accessible
- Hiring home health aides
- Arranging for handicapped-accessible transport
Many of these costs are not covered by either health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
Why Do Many Ligament Injuries Have Long-Lasting Effects?
Ligaments are soft tissues that connect joints, bones, and cartilage. Many ligament injuries have long-lasting effects due to the fact that their locations are connecting points between body parts, which makes it difficult for them to heal.
Ligament damage can result in intense pain immediately following the accident, but it can also cause muscle spasms, limping, and other life-long complications. Ligament damage from car accidents is actually more common than spinal cord injuries and TBIs.
What are the Lingering Effects of Nerve Damage?
Many car accident victims continue to experience chronic discomfort long after the collision. Lingering effects of nerve damage can range from a prickling sensation to significant muscle weakness and painful spasms. Unfortunately, insurance companies often attempt to deny claims involving nerve damage and chronic pain, asserting that the condition is not serious or that it was not directly caused by the accident.
An experienced attorney can help an accident victim by collecting the documentation showing the cause of the injury and its link to the accident. Documentation must include specific dates, details, and the endorsement of medical professionals before insurance companies will agree to a settlement.
What Types of Settlements Has Galfand Berger LLP Obtained for Car Accident Victims?
Galfand Berger LLP has obtained numerous full and just settlements for car accident victims. In the past 10 years alone, the firm’s attorneys have recovered more than a quarter of a billion dollars for clients injured due to someone else’s negligence. More than 98 percent of the cases are wins. Some examples of results include:
- $4.5 million-dollar settlement for spinal cord injury. The client’s vehicle was struck head-on in a severe collision. As a result of the accident, the client suffered catastrophic spinal injuries and was subsequently paralyzed. The attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP investigated the cause of the accident and found not only that the driver of the other car was at fault, but the auto manufacturer was also negligent due to defective seat belts and other features.
- $3 million-dollar settlement for injury resulting in amputation. The client suffered severe injuries when his vehicle was struck by a truck while he was driving on an interstate highway. His injuries resulted in amputation of his leg below the knee. An investigation by Galfand Berger LLP revealed that the trucking company was liable as the brakes and tires on the truck were worn out and not properly maintained, Additionally, the truck driver’s log was inaccurate, indicating a violation for driving excessive hours.
Each accident case is different. The attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP make sure to achieve the best possible results for their clients, whether that means going to court or reaching a just settlement.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Seek Justice for Injured Collision Victims
No one expects to get into a serious car accident. If they do, they are more likely than not to underestimate the full lifetime costs associated with the injuries they have suffered. If you or someone you know has been hurt in a car accident, contact the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP today. Fill out our online form or call 800-222-USWA (8792) for a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg, from our convenient office locations in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania.