Understand the true costs of a car accident so you can get the most out of your personal injury claim
Calculating the costs of a car accident involves more than just adding up the price to replace a banged-up bumper or treat an injury. There are also hidden expenses that often come as a surprise to people who experience an accident, and failing to account for these additional factors can result in you getting a smaller settlement than you need to make a full recovery.
Although every case is different, it helps to be aware of these potential hidden costs that you may need to account for when you’re negotiating a settlement for your car accident claim.
What are the hidden financial costs of having an accident?
Every dollar matters when you’re facing potentially thousands of dollars worth of damage to your car, along with skyrocketing medical bills. Leaving even one of these hidden costs out of your plans could leave you struggling financially when you should be focusing solely on your recovery.
Car crashes often cause injuries that require you to take time off of work. Whether you only need short-term leave or must completely change your career, you’ll need help covering your lost wages until you can get back to work.
Medical bills, co-pays, mental health counseling and medications
Some accidents cause injuries that don’t show up until later or require life-long treatment. You might also underestimate the cost of your medical supplies or the need for counseling to address the psychological effects of car accidents.
Damage to your car or property
Sometimes your vehicle ends up having more damage than you originally thought. Once mechanics start poking around, you might find out there’s a need for surprise repairs, such as replacing electrical components or sensors. If you carry your laptop or other expensive equipment in your car, then you may also need to include that property damage in your claim.
Higher insurance costs
Car insurance premiums tend to go up after an accident. If you’re at fault for the car accident to any degree, then you can expect your insurance company to raise your rates even more because they’ll consider you to be at a higher risk for a second collision.
Traffic tickets or court costs
If you were charged with speeding or engaging in other illegal activities at the time of the accident, then you might be required to pay traffic ticket fines or go to court to prove your innocence.
Deductibles for repair work
Even with insurance, you could still face high deductibles for repairing your vehicle, depending on your specific coverage.
Sometimes even minor car accidents can leave you unable to drive your car, and towing charges quickly add up.
Loss of household contributions
Needing to hire someone to help out with housework, childcare or driving during your recovery only adds more financial strain if you forget to include this in your claim.
Expert testimonies for trials
Working with an accident attorney can help you avoid going to trial, but you might need to pay for an expert’s testimony if the other party is unwilling to negotiate.
Rental cars aren’t always covered by insurance, and you’ll need to check your plan to find out if you could be on the hook for weeks of charges.
Continuing loan payments for an unusable car
Nothing’s worse than paying for a car that you can’t use, but that’s exactly what could happen if you have substantial damage to your vehicle and you still owe money on it.
What about the hidden emotional costs of a car accident?
Your mental health matters, too. Recognizing these hidden emotional costs can help you identify where you might need help as you discuss an appropriate settlement with your attorney:
- Dealing with strain on your relationships. Being hurt or unable to work places strain on personal relationships that could cause emotional stress.
- Coping with PTSD or driving fears. After an accident, many people experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or new anxiety about driving that might require professional counseling.
- Experiencing pain and suffering. It’s hard to put a price on your loss of comfort, but you deserve compensation for the suffering you endure during your recovery.
What types of hidden time costs should you prepare to handle?
Time is money, and you can expect to dedicate quite a few hours to managing your accident claim and recovery. This may include the following:
- Finding an attorney and filing a lawsuit. This is a one-time cost that will help you in the long run since an attorney will handle many of the more stressful details of your case.
- Going to medical appointments and rehab. Healing takes time, and you may now find yourself spending hours in medical offices that you could spend doing more enjoyable things.
- Missing important family and social events during your recovery. Missed opportunities are often overlooked when it comes to the major life changes you’ll face, and being unable to attend a wedding or other special event takes its toll on your emotional and social well-being.
- Filing police reports and insurance claims. If spending hours on the phone with your insurance company isn’t how you like to spend your time, then you can add this cost to the growing list of time you spend doing things that only add to your frustration.
- Going to testify in court. Testifying in court is stressful, and you may have to spend one or more days in the courtroom answering questions about your case.
- Losing sleep from nightmares or worrying about your finances. Nightmares are common after an accident, especially if you have PTSD. You might also find yourself staying up for hours due to pain or worrying about other aspects of your recovery.
How can a personal injury attorney help after a car accident?
Personal injury attorneys are experienced in handling car accident cases, and they can help you out with these key aspects of your lawsuit to save you time, money and emotional stress:
- Communicate with the other party’s insurance company
- Help obtain evidence to prove fault for the accident
- Gather and organize medical records and other essential documents
- Hold negotiations with lien holders on your claim
- Complete legal forms related to the lawsuit
- Negotiate a satisfactory settlement and compensation package
Contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney
The hidden costs of car accidents can quickly add up, but your personal injury attorney can take a lot of the strain off your plate. While you’ll still need to be involved with your case, having a professional handle all of the details helps you reduce the impact of the hidden costs on your overall well-being.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Lorenzo & Lorenzo. Our firm has a proven track record of success helping people in Tampa get the justice and compensation they deserve after a car accident. Your initial consultation is always free, and we won’t charge you a fee unless we win your case.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.