Although sometimes perceived as such, monetary awards from personal injury claims as a result of a car accident are not like winning the lottery. Nobody daydreams about receiving money because they or a loved one was injured in a car accident. The harsh reality is that any time a large jury award or settlement recovery for victims is made public, it is almost always followed by a headline about the “windfall” received by a victim of a reckless driver. What these headlines fail to take into account is that a car accident can have very real, very expensive consequences. It would not be a fair or just system if a victim of someone who chooses to drive while intoxicated was responsible for the costs of their recovery.
The Reality of Change: It All Adds Up
Every ding, dent, scrape, and scratch that a car did not have prior to being in an accident can accumulate into potentially thousands of dollars in repair work. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average auto liability claim for property damage in 2012 was $3,073. These costs can skyrocket if any type of recovery for victims involves the average personal injury. In the same year, liability claims involving bodily injury was $14,653. It is important to realize that these two figures are only averages—meaning that the highest amounts could potentially be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars—and that they represent all car accidents throughout the United States. Shrinking the statistical pool down to the State of Arizona, the averages rise to $9,282 for car accidents that cause property damage alone and $23,154 for non-incapacitating injuries.
Potential Damages Recovery for Victims
The types of damages listed above, property damage and medical treatment, are two of the most common types of damages that people think of in relation to car accidents. There are numerous other expenses that can incur recovery for victims of a drunk driver. What many people fail to think about are some of the more intangible damages, such as lost wages, diminished employment ability, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium (or affection). These types of damages can cost potentially into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If a fatality is involved, the economic costs can be well over a million dollars per incident in the state of Arizona.
When a driver makes the reckless decision to drive under the influence and crashes into an unsuspecting motorist, his or her insurance company may wish to offer the victim a monetary settlement to “cover” the damage done to their vehicle and/or immediate medical treatment costs. It is important for victims to understand the true cost to them and their loved ones before accepting any settlement offer. Call the professionals at the Thompson Law Firm, PLLC, who can discuss the particular facts of your case and help ensure that you receive what you deserve to obtain the care you need after a car accident.