No one starts out their day with the intent to be involved in an auto accident, but unfortunately, many individuals end up living out this reality. Luckily, the majority of accidents are simply fender benders that result in no injuries and can easily be handled by insurance companies. In some instances, however, commuters aren't this lucky. Massive accidents can lead to property damage, serious injuries and even death. Because of the difficulty that individuals can face after being involved in one of these accidents, it's imperative for them to understand what they're up against and how to properly respond to the situation.
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Accident Costs and Statistics
The statistics and financial effects of auto accidents make it clear how detrimental these incidents can be. A study recently released by AAA found that auto collisions cost Americans around $300 billion every single year. This amount eclipses the money lost through traffic congestion, but the human toll is what really makes these wrecks so disheartening.
In 2011, there were a total of 32,367 deaths related to traffic accidents. These ranged from pedestrian accidents to collisions involving motorcycles and other vehicles. While this number is much lower than it has been in previous years, the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans is undeniably tragic. Even for those who survive these collisions, however, the aftermath can be difficult.
Evaluating the Damage
The easiest damage to evaluate after a car accident is that related to property. It's pretty simple to find out exactly how much it will cost to repair or replace a damaged vehicle. Medical bills, on the other hand, can be more difficult. While it may seem easy to say "The victim's hospital stay cost $5,000," the simple fact is that many injuries have long lasting effects. Since medical bills can exist long after a settlement is reached, an individual should have an attorney help in reaching these agreements.
Additionally, a person should factor in "general damages," such as compensation for pain and suffering, when evaluating the damage caused in their accident. Many insurers will simply multiply medical damages by 1.5 to reach an amount for pain and suffering if the injury is relatively minor. For more serious and painful injuries, however, medical bills could be multiplied by up to five to reach an amount for general damages.
Recovering after the Fact
An auto accident that results in no serious injuries can often be handled by those involved and their insurers, but for those who sustain serious injuries, retaining a car accident attorney is necessary. Auto insurers are in the business of making money, and if they consistently pay out fair settlements, this simply won't happen. This gives their adjusters incentive to offer the lowest payouts possible. There are people in some states, however, who need attorneys for additional reasons.
People who live in "no-fault" states, such as Michigan, will actually receive compensation for medical and property damage costs from their own insurer. This is meant to reduce litigation in the courtrooms. Unfortunately, these policies don't cover general damages like loss of enjoyment in life or pain and suffering. A lawsuit must be filed to recover these damages, and without an attorney on one's side, the accident victim will face an uphill battle.
The aftermath of any serious car accident is going to present a trying time for those involved. Sadly, the variance in laws from state to state can make this time even more difficult for those unfortunate enough to come across a negligent driver during their commute. Luckily, the aforementioned tips can go a long way in making the aftermath of these incidents less taxing on a person, and with the right medical care and legal help, it's possible to get back to a sense of normalcy in one's life.
Lisa Coleman shares tips on how a person can evaluate and recover following a bad car accident. She recently read at http://www.stroble.com how a Michigan personal injury attorney can help in such a case.