Understanding the Costs of a Florida Car Accident

We all know that a car accident can be a life-changing event. But you may not have considered all of the direct and indirect ways that a car accident can change your life. Whether your accident occurs in Tampa, Miami, or anywhere in Florida, there are ways that car accidents come with hidden costs to victims and all of society.

When you understand both the known and unexpected consequences in the case, you can work with your car accident lawyer to make choices that protect your rights after an accident. Here are the hidden costs of a car accident.

Itemized costs of accident

Direct Costs to the Victim

Of course, the most obvious costs after a car accident are the direct costs to the victim. Here are some of the ways that a victim might suffer after a car accident:

Fatal injury

There are more than 1,000 fatal injuries in traffic crashes in Florida each year. Fatal crashes involve both private and commercial drivers. Each loss of life is a devastating loss for victims, their families and for our entire community.

Medical bills

Car accident victims that suffer physical injuries can expect to incur significant medical bills. If you’re an accident victim, you may need emergency care and follow-up treatment. You may need diagnostic tests, evaluations, surgeries, and medical aids like a cast or bandages.

Medical bills can be immediate after a car accident, or they can continue indefinitely for years or even for a lifetime. Your medical bills may lessen over time, or they may get worse over time. You might need physical therapy, and you may need to make modifications to your home to accommodate new physical challenges.

Property damage costs

In addition to damages for personal injuries, you’re almost certain to suffer property damages in an accident. You might have damages to your vehicle, you may have damage to property that you had in the car, or you may have damages to fixtures that you had on your land like a mailbox.

Property damages can cause additional problems. If you don’t have adequate insurance coverage to fix your vehicle or replace it, your property damages can compound into further issues like difficulty getting to work.

Civil damages or even criminal penalties

A car accident can result in civil damages or even criminal penalties for those involved. Any kind of civil or criminal penalty consists of a fine to pay to a court. For some offenses like drunk driving, the criminal penalties for a traffic offense can amount to thousands of dollars in court fines in addition to possible jail time.

Court fines and costs are on top of restitution that the person at fault for the accident may owe to someone who suffers financial losses because of the crash.

Indirect Costs to the Victim

In addition to the direct costs of your accident, here are some of the ways that you may suffer indirect costs because of your accident:

Career interruptions

You may not be able to work in the same way that you did before the accident. Not only can your ability to do your job change, but your entire career outlook can change. When you’re unable to work, you may get behind on your bills.

If you’re unable to work, you may have to dip into your savings or incur debt to make ends meet. Some accident victims can retrain for a different career, while others are unable to ever return to work. Either way, an accident can create a career interruption that can wreak havoc on your finances and your career path.

Increased insurance premiums

Accidents increase insurance premiums whether you’re at fault for a crash or simply paying an insurance premium for next year. Insurance companies base their premiums on the likelihood that you’re going to be in an accident.

The more accidents that occur in general, the more premiums are going to be for all drivers throughout the State of Florida. If you’re at fault for the crash, you can expect your insurance company to adjust your rates accordingly.

Costs to Other People

In addition to your direct and indirect costs from an accident, an accident can also cost other people. The person directly in the crash isn’t the only one who might have to adjust their life because of an accident. Here are some of the ways that an accident can result in a cost for people who aren’t directly involved:

Family and friends offering to help

Family and friends might have to take time off from work or their other responsibilities to help the injured person. They might have to help around the house or give rides to medical appointments. These adjustments can result in time away from work or out-of-pocket expenses for the person who supports their loved one.

Hiring and training new workers

When an accident victim is unable to work, it can affect coworkers, and it can impact the entire business. The victim’s employer may be unable to serve customers or fulfill orders. Coworkers might have to pick up overtime to cover for the injured worker, and the employer might have to pay overtime to these coworkers. The business might lose even more time if they have to hire and retrain a replacement worker.

Investigation costs

Law enforcement may spend significant resources to investigate an accident. Depending on the complexity and seriousness of the crash, each accident can take several hours to investigate. Law enforcement must have the personnel available to investigate each collision and prepare the necessary reports. Investigatory costs are passed on to the public in the form of increased taxes and higher budgets that are diverted from other public services.

How an Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve been in an accident, you deserve fair compensation for your losses. But making sure that you get fair compensation means appreciating the direct and hidden costs that you may face because of your losses.

At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, we have decades of experience with car accident cases, so we fully understand all costs associated. We will work with you to understand the specific circumstances of your case for a value that includes all types of damages you may qualify for. If you need help determining the costs of your car accident case, call us at (813) 333-6666 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation. There is no fee unless we win.

About the Author

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

For more than 35 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.