Car accidents are out of control across Texas and the Houston area, which is the leader among the country’s major metro regions when it comes to crashes, injuries, and deaths. In 2017, there were nearly 700 fatalities and 3,200 serious injuries in the region. And the impact to car crash victims who are involved in serious accidents extends beyond potentially life-changing injuries. There are also huge financial costs, as the Houston Chronicle reported in a recent eye-opening article.
The Chronicle’s report highlights the human and economic effects of accidents by following the medical treatment of a 19-year-old Texas man who crashed and fractured his spine last May after falling asleep at the wheel. The young man–who is, sadly, now paralyzed from the neck down and needing 24-hour care–has already racked up medical bills adding up to more than $1 million.
Here is a breakdown of just a few of his expenses to highlight in real numbers the financial cost of a serious accident:
- $137,448 for two helicopter rides, the first on an EMS helicopter from the accident site and the second on a medical transport helicopter to another hospital
- $156,330 for his five-day hospital stay immediately following the accident
- $354,400 for the hospital intensive care unit where he was transferred
- $12,000 for spinal surgery
- $41,000 for buying a wheelchair-accessible van
- $450-$600 a week in private nursing care.
Economic Toll in the Billions
Nationwide, the economic toll of motor vehicle accidents when deaths, medical care, lost wages, emergency responders, roadway repairs, property, and other factors are taken into account adds up to a staggering $242 billion, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. In Texas in 2017, the tally was $38.4 billion, and the Houston area had an economic loss of $7.19 billion, the Chronicle’s analysis showed.
When it comes to economics, the accident victims themselves, of course, pay the highest price. Approximately 73% of the costs involved in a severe accident are in medical bills and lost wages. But everybody pays for some of the cost of accidents. Taxes may go up to pay for more emergency responders or roadway repairs. Insurance premiums may rise. Cars may even become more costly as auto manufacturers add ever more safety features.
In this young man’s case, his mother’s insurance pays for some of his medical care—but he is still on the hook for over $150,000, and the bills will only continue to pile up.
A Public Health Crisis
Transportation officials in Texas have called the number of accidents in the Houston area, and the subsequent costs, a public health issue. Until and unless accidents are reduced and medical costs come down, the destruction of lives from injuries and subsequent financial devastation will continue. No one who is in an accident should have to face possible economic ruin to pay for the medical care they desperately need.
If you have suffered injuries in an accident, the experienced traffic accident attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law are available to help you get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us at 1 (800) 444-5000 or contact us through our online form.