What is the economic effect of accidents and injuries?

When somebody has been in an accident, the first thing friends and family members worry about is their health. It’s a relief to hear that they’re still alive, more so if their injuries are relatively minor. But even a minor accident can have significant economic consequences, and major ones can be financially devastating. Accident victims not only need get well soon cards, visits and gentle hugs in the immediate aftermath, but they often also need monetary support in the long term.

Medical costs

Even for people who are fully insured, accidents can mean medical costs. First there’s the excess on the insurance, then there’s the cost of things like dressings and bandages needed for home use. For people without insurance, the costs can be considerable, and it’s really not fair that they should have to bear them all themselves if they weren’t responsible for the accident happening. This is where it’s important to find a trusted injury lawyer who can help with a compensation claim.

Property damage

As well as causing injury, accidents can also result in property damage. Particularly in the case of car crashes, this can be considerable, and it can also mean being stuck without transport, leading to the accrual of further expenses. It’s advisable to take legal action as soon as possible if hoping to recover these costs.

Loss of earnings

If an injury makes it impossible to work or if a damaged vehicle simply means it’s impossible to get there, it can be difficult to get by without that regular income. This is all the more serious if the injuries remain seriously problematic over a long period of time, leading to loss of employment. Taking out loans in order to cover day-to-day expenses in the meantime can mean there’s interest to pay as well.

Psychiatric support

As well as help with physical injuries, psychiatric support or counseling can be an important element in recovery, and very often it isn’t covered by insurance. If an accident victim can show that he or she has been badly affected psychologically and needs help in order to deal with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or similar problems, it can be possible to claim money to help fund this – otherwise it can be a significant expense.

Long-term care costs

One of the most challenging economic difficulties to arise from accidents comes when those affected need long term care that their loved ones are unable to provide. While nursing care and specialist medical services such as physiotherapy may be provided by insurers, sometimes more basic services such as help with washing, dressing or cooking are not. Paying for a caregiver on a long-term basis can be very expensive.

Adapting the home

Accident victims who are left disabled by their injuries, whether on a short or long term basis, may need to find the money to modify their homes so that they can do day-to-day things independently. Some of the more commonly needed items can be quite costly; for instance, stair lifts start at around $8,000 and adapted baths at around $7,000.

Getting around

Seriously injured people may have difficulty getting around as they did before. Light wheelchairs start at fairly low prices, but it can take quite some time to build up enough arm muscle to use them well, and for some people, especially if they also have upper body injuries, it may be impossible. Additionally, it’s hard to find a good powered wheelchair for under $7,000. Those who own a car may be faced with the need to adapt a car for day-to-day travel in light of their injuries, while city dwellers used to getting around on public transport may find they need to start taking taxis everywhere, significantly increasing their day-to-day costs.

Being left unable to work

All of these expenses become more of a problem for those with injures so severe that they will never again be able to work. Even if there’s a possibility of doing a different kind of job, it will usually take time and cost money to retrain. In cases like this, there’s a good chance of being awarded a large amount of compensation and so it is extremely important to pursue it.

Anybody left with problems of this sort after an accident should start recording expenses and saving receipts as soon as possible. Compensation lawyers will generally not be able to claim for any expense for which there is no evidence, and a record of expenses can help lawyers show how much money their clients are likely to need in the future. Payouts are generally based on an assessment of need. Claiming compensation isn’t just about pursuing justice after an accident – it’s about making sure the victim isn’t left facing crippling financial difficulties.


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June 4, 2015 What is the economic effect of accidents and injuries?