Car accidents can be expensive: there’s no doubt about that. If the accident was your fault, you have to pay your deductible, and your insurance premiums will likely increase. Even if the accident was someone else’s fault, you may have to pay to have your car towed, and you may have medical bills from accident-related injuries.
These are just the costs associated with the individuals involved in the car accident: the costs to the U.S. economy as a whole are much, much higher.
A study recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that the “economic and societal harm from motor vehicle crashes amounted to a whopping $871 billion in a single year.”
The study analyzed the crashes that occurred in 2010, which results in 32,999 deaths, 3.9 million injuries, and 24 vehicles damaged.
The economic costs came to $277 billion. The cost of productivity losses among workers, property damage, medical treatment, traffic congestion, legal and court fees, emergency services, and insurance administration contributed to the total.
The other $594 billion was attributed to the costs of loss of life, pain, and decreased quality of life from injuries.
The study cited several behaviors that caused most of the cost:
- Alcohol-related crashes comprised $199 billion (23 percent of the total)
- Crashes where a speeding vehicle was involved accounted for $210 billion (24 percent)
- Distracted driving accounted for $129 billion (15 percent)
- Failure to use a seat belt accounted for $72 billion (8 percent)
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said that the study “clearly demonstrates that investments in safety are worth every penny used to reduce frequency and severity of these tragic events.”
The personal injury lawyers at Martinson & Beason, P.C. couldn’t agree more. We work with clients who have been injured in car accidents caused by someone else’s negligence, and we see firsthand the toll that an accident can take, both financially and emotionally.