What is the Average Cost of a Car Accident with Injury?

Car accidents can be astronomically expensive, especially when a person is seriously injured or killed as a result.  Between the costs of ambulance transportation, prescription drugs, doctor’s appointments, hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and other medical expenses, care costs can easily climb into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Some accidents wind up costing millions.  However, there’s also some good news for accident victims: those costs may not have to come out of your own pocket.  If you or one of your loved ones was seriously injured in a Utah car accident and you believe the other driver was responsible, you should talk to an experienced Salt Lake City car accident lawyer about the options that might be available to you for getting compensated.

How Many Car Accidents Are Fatal or Cause Injury?

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Every year, the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) releases a detailed report on automotive accidents throughout the state.  According to the 2014 DPS crash summary, 23,364 people were injured in 54,036 crashes.  Unfortunately, this means Utah accident victims are about as likely to be injured as they are to avoid injury.  In fact, the DPS calculated that someone was injured in a car crash every 22 minutes in 2014: about 65 new injury victims every day of the year.  Salt Lake County had the highest number of injury crashes (7,501), while sparsely-populated Daggett County had just seven.

Fatal crashes were significantly less common, but sadly, still claimed 256 lives in 2014.  Again, Salt Lake County had the highest number of fatal accidents (58) while, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Daggett and Piute County had none at all.

Car accidents can result in numerous types of injuries, some of which are more likely than others.  For example, auto accidents were identified by the CDC as the number one cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), causing more than 14% of all TBI cases documented by the CDC between 2006 and 2010.  Strains, sprains, broken bones, and spinal cord injuries (SCI) are also common outcomes, especially in high-speed collisions.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), whiplash – a soft tissue injury damaging muscles and ligaments in the neck – is more frequently reported than any other car accident injury.

How Much Auto Insurance Are Drivers Required to Carry in Utah?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), national auto insurance expenditures increased by 3.3% from 2012 to 2013, climbing from about $815 to about $841 – nearly the exact same cost documented in 2004, nearly a decade ago.  These figures about $100 lower in Utah, where the average cost in 2013 was closer to about $734:

  • $248 in collision coverage, an optional coverage that helps pay for property damage if you get into a rollover accident or collision.
  • $107 in comprehensive coverage, an optional coverage that helps pay for property damage caused by vandalism, theft, natural disasters, and other events.
  • $466 in liability coverage, a mandatory coverage that helps pay for injuries and property damage if you are found at fault for an accident. Utah drivers are required to carry, at minimum, $25,000 in liability coverage for injury (per person), $65,000 in liability coverage for injury (per accident), and $15,000 in liability coverage for property damage (per accident).  This is sometimes written as 25/65/15.

These might sound like hefty expenses, but they pale in comparison to the actual costs which often result from car accidents, especially if there is severe personal injury or wrongful death.

How Expensive is a Car Crash Where a Driver or Passenger is Injured or Killed?

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The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) reports that the average liability claim for bodily injury in 2013 was $15,443.  Yet the care costs associated with crash-related injuries, surgeries, and medical devices can ultimately be far higher.  Consider these financial facts:

  • Depending on its features, a wheelchair can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. An electric wheelchair could cost as much as $30,000 – more than some cars.  An adult walker can cost anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars.
  • According to Blue Cross Blue Shield, the average cost of total knee replacement surgery in the Salt Lake City-Ogden area was $36,762 as of 2015. The average cost of a total hip replacement in the same area of Utah was about $34,400.
  • A back brace can range anywhere from about $100 to $1,000.
  • Since July 2012, Utah ambulance ride prices have been set at about $600 per transport. Paramedic ground ambulances cost nearly twice as much: $1,148 per transport.
  • According to Beckers Hospital Review, which publishes “legal news and analysis relating to hospitals and health systems,” the average cost of inpatient hospital care per day in Utah is $2,625 at state or local government hospitals, $2,219 at nonprofit hospitals, and $1,990 at for-profit hospitals. If you need to spend one week in the hospital, you’re looking at costs ranging anywhere from $13,930 to $18,375.
  • HealthCare Bluebook estimates the following approximate costs:
    • Arm Cast – $180 to $200
    • Brain MRI – $640 to $1,050
    • Chest X-Ray – $60
    • Hand/Wrist Cast – $200
    • Hip Fracture Repair – $10,360
    • Leg Cast – $170 to $285
    • Skin Graft – $15,445
    • Skull X-Ray – $95
    • Spinal Fusion Surgery – $26,500 to $42,715

Get the Help of an Experienced Salt Lake City, Utah Car Accident Lawyer

The costs of a car accident or truck accident in Utah can seem overwhelming, but don’t panic: the other driver’s insurance company may be liable for many of your expenses.  To learn more about auto accident compensation and your rights as an injury victim, call the law offices of Overson Law at (801) 895-3143 for a free and confidential legal consultation today.

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