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Published On: Tue, Nov 6th, 2018

How Do Car Accidents Affect You in the Long Run?

Like many people, you may think that you will never get into a car accident. Your confidence may come from the fact that you are a very safe driver. In other words, you:

  • Follow the rules of the road
  • Practice defensive driving
  • Never drink and drive
  • Always pull over before you fall asleep at the wheel
  • Never – ever – talk or text on the phone.

However, the fact remains: You can’t control what others do. In that sense, you face the risk of getting into a crash every time you get behind the wheel. A few years ago, Forbes framed the odds this way: A driver should plan on filing at least one crash-related insurance claim every 18 years.

photo/ Emeryville via pixabay

Given those odds, have you ever thought about the long-term physical, emotional and financial effects that a car accident could have on your life? The list may be more extensive than you realize. Consider the following:

  • Physical Effects – If you are lucky, you can escape a crash with minor cuts and bruises. However, in many accidents, victims suffer injuries that result in long-term disabilities. Those injuries include traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, soft tissue damage, fractures and burns. Many auto accidents result in death, especially when the victim is a motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian. The injuries may lead to extensive medical costs and loss of income.
  • Emotional Effects – A car accident can affect a victim’s mental health as well as physical health. Many people who suffer through a traumatic event like an auto accident experience anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and other personality and behavior changes. Auto accidents now serve as a leading cause of PTSD, which is a potentially debilitating psychiatric disorder.
  • Financial Effects – The cost of medical treatment, including ongoing rehabilitation, can be exorbitant. It reflects the rising costs of medical care in this country. In addition to medical care, the costs of a car accident injury include the loss of income and loss of services contributed around the home such as child care or lawn care. If a family member cannot work because he or she has to provide around-the-clock care to a crash victim, those costs should be factored in, too.

Understanding the long-term effects of a car accident is important on several fronts. First, knowing how extensive those costs are can motivate us – individually and as a society – to avoid accidents. We can avoid risky behavior like drunk driving or distracted driving. We can also pressure automakers to come out with safer cars.

Second, knowing the long-term costs of an auto accident will underscore how important it is to tread carefully after a crash. Much is at stake. This is especially true when you deal with insurance companies and attorneys. Before you say or sign anything, it is important to:

  • Research your rights
  • Learn about your legal options
  • Consult with a lawyer whom you can trust.

The long-term effects of a car accident should serve as the lawyer’s top priority in your case. If someone else’s negligence caused the car accident, then the lawyer should pursue a settlement amount or verdict that fully addresses those long-term effects.

Author: Brittany Cotton

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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