Car accidents account for about 50,000 deaths each year. Even the most mild accidents can send shockwaves through the everyday lives of motorists affected by them. Believe it or not, a simple fender bender can send you to the hospital!
In order to make a complete recovery, many car accident injuries require surgery. Surgeries and their aftermath can cost you a lot of time… and money. If someone else’s careless or reckless actions caused a car accident that injured you, you shouldn’t have to pay for the surgeries you need to heal.
In this blog post, we discuss some common surgeries you might need after getting hurt in a car accident, what they might cost you, and how you can make sure the person at fault for your accident pays for them. Learn more from the experienced Houston car accident attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney At Law.
Common Surgeries Needed After a Car Accident
Car accidents frequently happen, with many resulting in serious injuries requiring surgery. In one recent year, around 4.8 million people sustained serious injuries from car accidents. The estimated cost to society of these accidents is also approximately $474 billion, according to the National Safety Council.
Many of the costs associated with car accidents involve surgical procedures that help victims recover. The specific expenses will depend on the nature and extent of the injury and the required procedure.
Some of the car accident injuries that often require costly surgery include:
Many car accident victims sustain knee injuries. These injuries develop when a driver or passenger’s knees hit the dashboard or move unnaturally in other ways. These injuries could involve extensive damage to bones, cartilage, and ligaments, requiring surgery to help this damage heal in many cases.
Knee injuries, like other leg injuries, can also require a long period of rehabilitation and physical therapy for the patient to recover. Serious knee injuries may also require knee replacement surgery, which costs an average of over $38,000 today. Compensation in a car accident case may be able to help pay for this and other expensive procedures.
Another type of injury that many people sustain in car accidents is a spinal injury. During an accident, drivers and others move unnaturally, which can easily lead to severe spinal injuries. Victims of spinal injuries often face partial or total paralysis, with many injuries requiring surgery to help avert this risk.
When car accident victims sustain spinal injuries, they often pay for them for the rest of their lives. Many victims spend millions of dollars on surgeries, ongoing treatment, and other related expenses.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Car accidents also frequently result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can affect victims’ ability to function in their daily lives. These injuries can range anywhere from “minor” concussions to more extensive damage leading to permanent impairments and disabilities. People often suffer TBIs when their head impacts the interior of the car during an accident. They can also result from unnatural movement of the head.
Many TBIs require surgery to prevent more serious injuries from developing and to save patients’ lives. The cost of emergency surgery in these cases costs as much as tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, patients may require long-term care after undergoing these procedures, and they can run into the millions of dollars.
Car accidents often result in broken bones. While many injuries involving broken bones don’t require surgery and can heal with basic care and casts, some will require surgery to assist the healing process. Surgical procedures may involve implanted hardware that helps reposition and stabilize the patient’s bones.
Like other surgical procedures, broken bone surgeries can cost thousands of dollars. The costs can be extremely high if patients need multiple surgeries to recover fully.
Car accident victims may sustain various internal injuries that can involve serious damage to internal organs and other tissue. These injuries often need surgery to help repair internal damage and prevent more serious injuries from developing. Similar to other types of surgery, internal injury surgery can cost thousands of dollars and require ongoing medical care.
Some examples of payment options after a car accident could include the following:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Some states offer or require citizens to carry a certain amount of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. PIP insurance policies are a type of no-fault policy, meaning that accident victims can receive coverage regardless of who was at fault for an accident. As a vehicle owner, you may find this is the main type of insurance coverage that will help pay for surgeries and other medical expenses.
If you have health insurance, you may also use your insurance policy to help cover some medical expenses following an accident. While this may help cushion the overall costs, keep in mind that you may still need to pay out-of-pocket for copays and deductibles, among other costs.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Suppose you sustained injuries in a car accident while within the scope of employment. You may be able to receive workers’ compensation through your employer’s insurance company. In many cases, workers’ compensation will cover medical expenses, lost wages, and vocational rehabilitation. Still, it won’t cover other damages if you seek compensation for other economic and non-economic damages.
Medical payments coverage, or MedPay, comes with many people’s auto insurance coverage. You can use this insurance coverage to pay for copays and certain out-of-pocket costs. It offers coverage to policyholders regardless of fault.
You may also be able to cover the cost of surgeries through supplemental insurance, which some insurance carriers offer. These policies cover a portion of medical costs in emergencies such as car accidents. You typically don’t need to pay more than a few dollars every month for these policies, making them highly affordable and helpful.
If you have a case that’s likely to settle, you may receive litigation funding, also known as a lawsuit loan. One benefit of this funding is the ability to bypass a credit check, but you’ll only qualify for this funding if you are likely to see a successful outcome in your case and you can cover the fees and interest that come with this funding. Generally, litigation funding is the last resort to turn to once you’ve run out of other options
If there aren’t any other options available, you could temporarily charge surgical procedures and other treatments to your credit card. This is viable if you have no insurance or companies refuse to bill you on contingency. If you decide to use your credit card to cover treatment and other costs, make sure it won’t negatively affect your credit score to the point where it’s hard to recover. Upon receiving your settlement, you’ll be able to use it to get out of credit card debt.
In your case, you may be uncertain of what you can do regarding payment. By speaking with a car accident lawyer, you can better understand how to pay for medical care before settling
What Happens if Another Party’s Insurer Offers Compensation?
Sometimes after a car accident, another driver’s insurer could attempt to reach out to you with a settlement offer. It may seem like this insurer is on your side, but this action likely means that the other party is liable, and their insurance doesn’t want to pay the full amount of compensation that your case is worth.
Even if you feel you can benefit from the settlement offer, especially when under tight financial restrictions, it’s best to turn down this offer. Instead, consult with an attorney who has experience handling car accident cases. A good lawyer can help determine how much your case is worth and may be able to negotiate a fair settlement with insurers. An attorney may also be able to help take the case to court if necessary.
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
The steps you take after a car accident can impact your ability to recover compensation later. Taking the right steps will ultimately help you make a full recovery and increase your chances of building a successful claim or lawsuit.
These steps include:
The first step after an accident resulting in injuries and extensive damage is to call the authorities if possible. Once you’ve moved your vehicle to a safe location or turned on your hazard lights, you should notify law enforcement of the accident and wait for them to arrive. Emergency personnel could take you to a local hospital for immediate care if needed, or you can give a statement to police officers if you’re able to stay at the scene. Speaking with law enforcement will generate a report that may help support your claim.
If you can, take photos or record video footage at the scene of the accident immediately afterward. This includes images of any damage to vehicles and other property, road conditions, injuries, and other elements. Even if you cannot capture evidence immediately after the accident, you may be able to return later.
Talk to Witnesses
If any witnesses were present at the scene of the accident, ask for their contact information. An attorney may be able to reach out to them later to record a statement from them, which could further back your claim.
Seek Additional Medical Care
Even if you don’t immediately sustain apparent injuries following an accident, it’s in your best interest to speak with your doctor. You can receive a formal diagnosis this way and, if you have any injuries, receive treatment while generating medical records. These records can help prove the extent of your injuries and support a claim or lawsuit.
Maintain a Pain Journal
You may experience a degree of pain and suffering when recovering from your injuries. To help prove these damages in a car accident case, you should consider keeping a pain journal that details how you feel as you recover. This includes physical pain and emotional distress, such as any trauma you experience.
Speak With an Attorney
To find out if you have a valid car accident claim and to learn more about your rights, speak with an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney may decide to take on your case and provide representation during the claims process. An attorney could also provide representation in court if a case goes to trial.
Six Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The steps you take immediately after your car accident can play an important role in your ability to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Follow these steps to protect your health, wellbeing, and legal rights:
- Call 911. This may seem obvious, but it’s important enough to emphasize. Always call 911 after a car accident so police and emergency medical personnel can respond to the scene. This serves the purpose of making sure your accident gets reported to the proper authorities, crash reports get created, and you have immediate access to potentially life-saving medical care for your injuries.
- Take pictures. If it is safe for you to move around the accident scene, take as many pictures of the scene as possible, including images of the vehicles, the road surface, and the surrounding area.
- Speak with witnesses. If you take note of anyone who witnessed the accident, try to get their names and contact information so your attorney can follow up with them. Their statements can help you recover compensation from at-fault parties.
- Seek further medical attention. After you receive medical care at the scene of the accident, always also follow up with your regular doctor. They can evaluate you for any hidden injuries. Serious injuries – ones that can follow you for the rest of your life – might not present any symptoms for days. Don’t gamble with your health! Seek follow-up care. Additionally, the medical records created when you see the doctor can become important evidence documenting your claims for compensation.
- Keep a personal injury journal. As you recover from your surgery and your other injuries, you may wish you could just forget about the trauma you have gone through. We understand, but we also find that keeping a journal of your healing and recovery process helps to put into words the pain and difficulty that you experience. That sort of record can prove extremely valuable to your attorney when the time comes to seek compensation for the harm a car accident did to you and your family.
- Contact a car accident injury lawyer. Do not wait to seek legal advice after a car accident turns your life upside down. The critical evidence you’ll need for your case gets more and more difficult to collect as time passes. Proving someone else’s liability can get harder and harder, especially when you’re on your own. Get a lawyer working for you right away to give yourself the best shot at recovering every penny of compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact a Car Accident Injury Lawyer for More Information
Car accidents cause injuries that inflict severe physical, emotional, and financial pain. Money cannot turn back time or ease the discomfort you feel while you recover from a surgery, but it can pay for your care, replace your lost income, and give you the support you need to return to living your life.
To learn more about your legal rights after a car accident injury needs surgery, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. They can answer your questions and help you decide how to take the first step on the road to justice.
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.