Get maximum compensation for your car accident claim by understanding these hidden costs
How expensive is a car crash? The answer might surprise you.
In addition to the physical cost to your body and property, you might also suffer the emotional cost of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the financial cost of lost wages and raised insurance premiums, and the time cost involved in recovery and filing a lawsuit.
All in all, there can be many hidden expenses associated with a car accident, but being aware of these costs can help you get a fair settlement for your claim.
The frequency of car accidents in Florida
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), there were 401,540 car crashes in Florida in 2021 alone, leading to 3,741 fatalities.
Within Miami-Dade County, the car accident death rate was 12.21 for every 100,000 residents. This is a smaller fatality rate than the rest of Florida, which is 17.0 for every 100,000 residents.
The average financial cost of a car accident
The National Safety Council has calculated the average cost of car crashes based on factors such as medical bills, vehicular damage, and wage and productivity losses. Their results are divided into categories based on the severity of the accident:
- Evident injury: $40,000
- Possible injury: $24,000
- No injury observed: $6,700
- Property damage only: $5,700
While the true cost of any accident can vary widely, these averages can be used as a guide when thinking about the costs involved in your specific case.
Hidden costs of a car accident
There can be many unforeseen expenses after a car wreck. These include both tangible and intangible costs.
Financial costs of a car accident
Financial costs, also known as economic damages, are often the first ones that you’ll encounter. In addition to the repairs that you’ll have to make to your vehicle, you might also have to pay for hospital bills, lost wages and traffic tickets.
You might also need to rent a car or pay for public transportation while yours is in the shop. You might even have to continue making loan payments on your unusable vehicle.
Here’s a list of hidden financial costs that you should consider after a car accident:
- Damage to your car and other property
- Towing expenses
- Repair deductibles
- Increased insurance premiums
- Vehicle rental or other transportation costs
- Title and registration for a new car
- Continued loan payments on your old car
- Traffic tickets or court costs
- Paid expert testimony at trial
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Additionally, if your injuries are severe enough that you can’t drive, you may have to pay someone to run errands for you and deliver necessary groceries and supplies. You may also have to pay someone to do household chores that you normally do yourself, like mowing your lawn.
Emotional costs of a car accident
There are also psychological effects of car accidents, especially when they involve serious injuries or fatalities. These emotional tolls can’t be measured with money, but they still represent a hidden cost to car crashes:
- Strain on your relationships
- Fear of driving
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Depression or anxiety
- Lost productivity at work
All of these emotional costs can impact your quality of life and make it difficult to function at home or work, further adding to your financial struggles.
Time costs of a car accident
Last but not least, there are hidden time costs associated with a car accident. These are processes and procedures that will require time, effort and money from you, not only draining you mentally but also preventing you from engaging in other, more profitable activities.
Here are a few examples of time losses after a car crash:
- Finding a personal injury attorney and filing a lawsuit
- Arranging and seeking ongoing medical care
- Dealing with police reports and insurance claims
- Testifying in court
- Missing important family and social events because of the aftermath of the accident
- Losing sleep from nightmares, stress and other psychological trauma
- Missing out on advancements at work
All of these factors and more need to be considered when estimating the potential value of your car accident claim. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can help you with this process to ensure you don’t overlook any hidden or future expenses.
Will my car insurance go up in Florida after an accident?
By law, Florida forbids auto insurance companies from increasing the price of your premiums if the accident wasn’t your fault. However, there is an exception for cases where “the insurer in good faith determines that the insured was substantially at fault in the accident.”
But what does “substantially at fault” mean? It’s a gray area, and it’s one that you might have to fight in court if you feel that your insurance premiums have been unfairly raised. A lawyer can help you with this.
On the other hand, if you acknowledge your fault or are proven liable for your accident, you can expect your auto insurance premiums to spike anywhere from 21% to 73%.
How much value will my car lose in an accident?
The initial physical damage a car sustains in an accident isn’t the only way its value is impacted. Even after repairs, these vehicles will often have diminished values. Diminished value is defined as the difference in a car’s value in its pre- and post-accident states.
Carfax estimates that vehicles lose an average of $500 in retail value after being involved in a wreck, and that average jumps to $2,100 when the car has been involved in accidents in the past.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if the vehicle has been fully repaired. Just having a history involving a wreck is enough to diminish a car’s value after a crash.
Making a diminished value claim in Florida
Fortunately, there are 3 types of claims that can be filed in Florida for diminished value:
- Inherent diminished value. This type of claim can be filed when a vehicle’s value decreases due to an accident history report.
- Immediate diminished value. This type of claim addresses damages that instantly reduce the value of a vehicle, regardless of whether repairs are made. Auto insurance often covers these repairs, making such claims rare.
- Repair-related diminished value. This type of claim is filed when a vehicle cannot be restored to an acceptable condition due to improper or lower-quality repairs.
Inherent damage claims comprise the majority of diminished value claims since they apply to nearly every vehicle after an accident. By contrast, immediate damage claims are rare; insurance companies usually make them go away by covering the costs of repairs. Meanwhile, repair-related claims are only applicable to certain cars if they weren’t properly serviced after an accident.
Calculating diminished value after a car accident
The basic formula for diminished value is to subtract the post-accident value of the car from the pre-accident value of the car. However, “post-accident value” has little to do with things like repair costs. Instead, it involves the following factors:
- The starting value of your car
- The 10% cap that insurance companies apply to diminished value claims
- The amount of damage done to your car
- The mileage on your car
It’s a lot to calculate, so you might just want to use a diminished value calculator, many of which can be found online and speak with an attorney to ensure you don’t miss out on the compensation you deserve.
Contact an experienced Miami accident attorney for help estimating the value of your car accident claim
If you’ve been in a car accident in the Miami area, you need an experienced car accident attorney to help you determine the value of your claim, including all the hidden costs. Miami car accident attorney Mike Redondo has that experience, having spent his early years representing insurance companies to limit their liability in accidents. Now, he uses that knowledge to fight for car accident victims like you so he can maximize their settlement awards.
Redondo Law is proud to offer free consultations in both English and Spanish to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need to make the best possible decisions for your unique situation.
Contact his office today to get started.