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What is the social cost of car accidents?

Motor vehicle accidents take a huge toll on victims, their families, and another entity you may not have considered — society. The social cost of car accidents can be both economic and noneconomic. Some ways car accidents affect the economy include:

  • Increased insurance premiums: Too many accidents can increase everyone’s insurance premiums, regardless of whether you have ever been involved in an accident.
  • Medical bills and long-term care: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime medical costs in 2012 from a car accident averaged $18 billion.
  • Days off work: Crash injuries lead to a million days in the hospital each year, reports the CDC. This means one million days off work, not contributing to the nation’s economy.
  • Decreased earnings due to long-term impairment or disability. If the person suffers permanent impairment, s/he might not be on the same career and earnings track s/he was on before the accident. This can mean a lifetime of decreased earning potential. Accident injuries in 2012 led to $33 billion worth of lifetime work lost, per CDC statistics.
  • Loss of life: When a person dies in a car accident, the friends and family feel the loss most acutely, but that loss also affects the economy. Society loses that person’s financial contributions (e.g., skills s/he used to build economy by working, purchases, donations, taxes, etc.).
  • Court system expense of handling civil and criminal cases resulting from motor vehicle accidents. Motor vehicle accidents inundate our court systems with civil and criminal cases. These cases, which include traffic court, drug court, DUI, personal injury, and wrongful death, use a great deal of our court’s resources.

While you might not consider it, car accidents also affect society in a human, noneconomic fashion. These losses include:

  • Lives ended too soon
  • Human potential never reached, due to death or disability
  • Families robbed of mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, siblings,etc.
  • Loss of guidance for children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, younger brothers and sisters, etc.
  • Society’s loss of what those people would have contributed to society — through their civic involvement, charitable contributions, and serving as mentors and role models. Songs not written, art not created, fellow humans not helped — these are all losses to society.
  • Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of an accident (This can affect a person’s ability to engage with society.)

How to Decrease Your Impact

Motor vehicle accidents lay a heavy burden on society. To prevent this burden on our loved ones, victims’ loved ones, and society, we can work together to prevent accidents. Next time you get behind the wheel, remember:

  • Drive sober and drive safely.
  • Wear your seatbelt.
  • Do not text or talk on your phone while driving.
  • Drive defensively to try to avoid being in an accident.

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, accidents sometimes happen due to the fault of others. If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, Bressman Law can help. Call us today at 877-538-1116 for your free consultation.

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