For individuals injured in car accidents, economic costs overly burdensome

Imagine being involved in a serious head-on car crash where the other driver fell asleep at the wheel and crossed the center line. In the seconds leading up to the crash, you remember the feelings of horror as you realized the car was coming straight towards your vehicle and was going to hit you. The next thing you remember is waking up in the hospital. You're told you suffered serious neck and spinal injuries and that doctors performed two surgeries to save your life. You will likely never walk again.

Every day across the U.S., people are involved in motor vehicle accidents that, in a matter of seconds, claim and irrevocably change lives. For those who are injured, but survive a car accident, the financial costs can be astronomical.

In the October Vital Signs report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers aimed to examine the economic costs associated with motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, researchers reviewed effective methods to prevent car accidents and provided recommendations on steps both government and law enforcement officials and individuals can take to reduce car accidents. Recommendations include increased DUI checkpoints and seat belt and car seat usage.

Using crash data from 2012, CDC researchers determined that for every one traffic-accident fatality, another 100 people are treated and released at emergency departments for related injuries and eight are hospitalized. Medical costs associated with an ED visit average $3,300 and that amount climbs to an average cost of $57,000 for individuals who are hospitalized.

An individual who is injured in a car accident due to the negligent acts of another driver should not have to bear the financial burdens associated with medical expenses and lost wages. Memphis area residents who are in this type of situation would be wise to discuss their case with a personal injury attorney.

Source: CDC, "Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Crash Injuries," Oct. 2014

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