Car accidents are an everyday occurrence in Georgia. Data from the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) shows that car accidents are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths, ER visits, and hospitalizations in the state. Apart from impacting the victims and their families, these accidents also have a devastating impact on the state’s economy. Every year, a staggering amount of resources is used to compensate car accident victims.

In this post, we will take an in-depth look at the economic impact of car accidents in Georgia.

Car Accidents in Georgia – What the Numbers Say

  • Between 2012 and 2021, a total of 14,516 people were killed in traffic crashes in Georgia.
  • In 2020, Georgia ranked fourth on the list of states with the highest number of car accidents. It was the leading cause of injury-related death for children between the ages of 5 and 14 and the second leading cause of injury-related death for adults between the ages of 25 and 65.
  • Car accident fatalities and injuries are typically higher in the urban parts of the state compared to the rural parts.
  • Speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving are the three biggest contributing factors to traffic crashes in the state.

Economic Cost of Car Accidents and Their Overall Impact on the Society

The economic cost of car accidents in the U.S. is estimated to be over $300 billion per year. In Georgia, it’s estimated to be over $10 billion per year, which is among the highest in the country.

The economic cost of a car accident can be broadly divided into five categories – injury-related medical expenses and other losses suffered by the victims, long-term care and assisted living, property damage, loss of workplace and household productivity, and accident-related congestion costs.

Medical Expenses and Wage Loss

When a person is injured in a car accident, they might require extensive treatment depending on the nature of the injuries they sustain and the extent to which they are injured. The most common injury-related medical expenses for which a car accident victim can be compensated include:

  • Transportation, emergency medical care, surgery, lab tests, hospitalization, and prescription medications
  • Follow-up treatment, lab tests, and medications
  • Buying a walker, wheelchair, and other assistive devices
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Occupational therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy and other types of therapy needed to treat the trauma caused by the accident

Following the accident, the injured person might have to be hospitalized for a few days, weeks, or even months depending on how seriously they are injured. Even after getting discharged, the victim might not be able to work or might have to switch to a less-demanding and lower-paying job due to the physical or cognitive impairments caused by their injuries.

As a result, they might lose a substantial amount of wages, bonuses, insurance, and other financial benefits. Apart from this, if the injured victim’s ability to work and earn a living (commonly referred to as earning potential or earning capacity) is affected as a result of a physical or cognitive impairment, they can be compensated for the estimated lost earning potential.

In addition, with help from a car accident attorney, the claimant can also seek compensation for the intangible losses they suffered as a result of the accident. These are unquantifiable losses that the victim suffers due to their injuries. These include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.

If the individual dies in the accident, their family members can file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party and seek compensation for a wide range of losses including:

  • Cost of medical treatment provided to the victim before death
  • The decedent’s funeral expenses
  • Loss of future earnings of the decedent
  • Loss of inheritance caused by the victim’s death
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of quality of life

Long-Term Medical Care and Assisted Living

If the individual is physically or cognitively impaired as a result of their injuries and is unable to care for themselves, they might need lifelong care from professional caregivers. In some cases, the victim might have to be moved to an assisted living facility, where they may have to remain for the rest of their life. They can get legal representation from a Georgia personal injury lawyer and seek compensation for the costs of medical care they might need, caregiving, and living at an assisted living facility.

The compensation for these losses is typically paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company. The problem is that the at-fault party’s insurance policy might not be sufficient to fully compensate the victim. It’s common in accidents where the victims suffer catastrophic injuries and are physically or cognitively impaired as a result.

If the compensation from the at-fault party does not cover their medical expenses and other losses, the victim might have to pay out of pocket, which can make it difficult for their family to meet other expenses. In some cases, the victim might not be able to pay for their treatment at all, and might not be able to make a full recovery as a result. It can severely impact their ability to work, earn, and lead a normal life.

Data shows that people with disabilities are more likely to rely on federal and state government benefits to meet their day-to-day needs. In other words, when someone negligently injures another person, taxpayers and society might have to pay for the consequences.

Photo of Car Crash Scene

Property Damage

Car accidents that result in property damage vastly outnumber accidents that result in injuries and deaths. As a result, property damage accounts for nearly one-third of the economic costs associated with car accidents.

Data shows that when their car is damaged in an accident, the owner might not always sue the other party or file a claim with their insurance company. This is because many people believe that the hassle of filing a claim is not worth it when the damage to their vehicle is minimal. Similarly, they might be hesitant to file a claim with their insurance company as they might be worried about paying higher rates. As a result, they might pay out of pocket to repair their car and other items damaged in the accident.

Lost Productivity

According to experienced car accident attorneys, one of the most notable consequences of a car accident is the loss of workplace and household productivity. A person who is physically or cognitively impaired as a result of a car accident might not be able to work as efficiently as they did before their accident. 

In some cases, they might have to switch to a different job or a different department altogether to accommodate their disabilities. The loss of productivity resulting from these changes can be quite substantial.

Also, a physically or cognitively impaired person might not be able to perform their duties in the household as a spouse or parent. As a result, their family members have to work more or hire someone to take care of household-related tasks that the victim used to manage before the accident.

Moreover, taking care of a physically or cognitively impaired person can be a challenge for most people. The household member who spends their time and effort caring for the victim might not be able to do as much productive work as they would be able to otherwise, which can affect their work as well.

Accident-Related Traffic Congestion and Environmental Hazards

One of the most overlooked aspects of a car accident is its impact on society’s overall productivity and the environment. Due to the increased traffic congestion caused by car accidents, people might have to wait longer or take a different route, which can lead to more fuel consumption. The delays caused by accidents can result in the loss of work hours and affect people’s productivity. The increased fuel consumption and emissions can affect the environment, which in turn can have a negative impact on the economy as well.

Help Is Available from the Leading Car Accident Lawyers in Georgia

The financial and economic cost of a car accident can be massive. At The Pendergrass Law Firm, our car accident attorneys believe that anyone responsible for a car accident must be held fully accountable and the injured party must be compensated.

If you have been injured in a car accident, we can provide you with strong legal representation, collect evidence and negotiate with the at-fault party, and obtain the highest possible compensation you are entitled to. Our personal injury attorneys are well-versed in personal injury law and have decades of combined experience in representing car accident victims. We know how to get insurance companies to pay what you deserve.

To discuss your claim with an experienced Georgia car accident attorney, call us today at 404-445-5136 or fill out our online contact form and schedule a free consultation. Please note our Peachtree Office and Stone Mountain Office locations for your reference.

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