The Cost of Car Accidents

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The Cost of Car Accidents (Photo: @TonyTheTigersSon via Twenty20)
A 2014 study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that, on average, car crashes cost $871 billion dollars a year in bodily injury and property damage in the U.S. While these numbers take into account the economic impact on accident sufferers, these figures don’t take into account other issues, such as a lower quality of life, that can result from a car accident.
Here are the various costs associated with a car accident, and tips on what you can do to lessen the impact that an accident has on your life.

The average cost of a car accident

The following estimated costs from the National Safety Council for car accidents include any lost wages, reduction or loss of productivity, medical expenses, property damage, and an employers’ cost associated with an uninsured employee missing time at work.
Average Cost Per Car Accident
Car accident including: Average cost per accident in the U.S.
Death $1,130,000
Nonfatal disabling injury $61,600
Property damage/Non-disabling injury $7,500
Source: [National Safety Council](http://www.tavss.com/library/va-nc-lawyer-economic-and-comprehensive-auto-accident-costs.cfm)
In addition to costs breakdown by accident type, accident severity also plays a part in the overall costs of an accident. The chart below compares the different costs associated with varying levels of accident severity:
Car Accident Cost by Severity
Car accident severity Average economic cost in the U.S.
Incapacitating injury crash $65,000
Non-incapacitating event injury crash $21,000
Possible injury crash $11,900
Source: [Tavss Fletcher](http://www.tavss.com/library/va-nc-lawyer-economic-and-comprehensive-auto-accident-costs.cfm)

The true cost of a car accident according to the National Safety Council

Loss of quality of life includes losing the ability to perform certain actions that can make life more enjoyable, including time spent with and participating in life events with family, a reduction in the quality of where you live, and suffering from the side effects of medication on a consistent basis, among other things.
The true cost of an accident becomes evident when you measure the lost quality of life as given by the following National Safety Council numbers:
Average Comprehensive Cost of Car Accidents per Injured Person
Comprehensive cost of: Average cost in the U.S.
Death $4,100,000
Incapacitating injury $208,500
Non-incapacitating injury $53,200
Possible injury $25,300
No injury $2,300
Source: [National Safety Council](http://www.tavss.com/library/va-nc-lawyer-economic-and-comprehensive-auto-accident-costs.cfm)

How to lessen the impact of a car accident

While you can never truly lessen the impact of an accident on your life, you can take certain steps to at least make it easier financially. Certain coverage types can compensate you for lost wages, and even give death benefits to your family in the unfortunate circumstance of you passing away following a car accident. These coverage types at least keep you living at the same level that you lived at before and include the following:
  • MedPay: MedPay pays for a variety of costs associated with bodily injuries suffered during an accident. Some of the expenses covered include any ambulance or EMT fees, doctor visits, and funeral expenses. In addition, MedPay covers you even in certain instances when you’re not driving your car, such as when walking on the sidewalk or riding public transportation.
  • Personal Injury Protection: Like MedPay, Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, covers a variety of costs associated with getting hurt in a car accident. These covered expenses include medical expenses, lost income, funeral costs, and survivor’s loss benefits paid to your surviving family members in the case of your death. In addition, PIP pays for childcare if you cannot take care of your children properly following an accident and lawn care if you find yourself unable to care for your lawn.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage kicks in if the at-fault party either has no liability insurance or if the insurance they do have does not cover the full amount of the costs associated with an accident.
The states of Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin require some form of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Even though you usually can’t prevent a car accident, you can take steps to limit an accident’s affect on your daily life, including making sure to opt for insurance coverage such as MedPay, PIP, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.