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Thomas Kollin

Crash economics 101: What do I need to know after a car accident?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Screeching tires. Shattering glass. The rush of air and popping sound that comes when an airbag deploys. These are sounds that anyone who has been in a serious car accident can identify. Unfortunately, another sound can be just as frightening: the ticking clock of passing time as all the bills come due.

Car accidents change our lives in so many ways. From the physical pain and emotional stress to the logistics of getting to work and paying bills. It is important to take the full impact of the crash into account to help move forward after an accident. Second only to the health of those involved, it is important to also take the economics of the accident into account.

Why should I care about the economics of a car crash?

Even the most financially stable will need to allocate funds to help cover the costs that come with an accident. It is important to look carefully at the expense that result from the crash so you can make sure to hold the responsible party accountable for these costs.

What are the most common costs after an accident?

Following a car accident, certain costs are almost unavoidable. These can include:

  • Property damage. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may need to cover the expense to repair or replace a vehicle.
  • Medical expenses. This can include immediate treatment costs, ongoing care, and rehabilitation. It is important to take all related medical expenses into account when trying to estimate the financial toll of the accident.
  • Loss of income: Time off work for recovery can lead to lost wages.

In most cases, you will also need to take insurance into account. It is common for future premiums to increase, even if the accident was not your fault.

Who pays for the damage?

Liability for car accident costs depends on state laws and the specifics of the incident. These accidents are often the result of negligence. In the legal world, negligence occurs when a driver fails to exercise reasonable care. If the other driver caused the accident due to negligence, they (or their insurance company) would typically be liable for your expenses.

The legal theory of negligence is often central to determining liability. Courts generally require the victim to establish negligence using the following elements:

  • Duty of care: The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff.
  • Breach of duty: The defendant breached that duty through action or inaction.
  • Causation: The breach of duty caused the accident.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered losses or injuries as a result.

When you are the victim of an accident, understanding these elements is crucial for your financial recovery. In order to hold the driver financially accountable, you generally need to establish each of these elements. The first is often a given, as the state expects anyone with a driver’s license to operate the vehicle with care. An attorney can review your case and help gather evidence to establish the three remaining elements.

The financial aftermath of a car accident can be crippling. As a victim, it is important to understand the basics of these concepts to help better ensure you receive the financial support you deserve.