Losses are added up after a disaster based on the value of the item damaged or destroyed. Depending upon the insurance you carry, payment for the loss of a television in a fire might equal the TV’s actual, depreciated value or the cost of replacement at current prices. Human losses are not so easy to measure.
Let’s look at the economic impact of nationwide and West Virginia fatal motor vehicle accidents, focusing on personal rather vehicle damage. Roll back the clock to 2005, when medical bills and lost wages added up to $41 billion for U.S. crash deaths. Imagine how much higher the total would be now.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the yearly cost of auto accident fatalities in West Virginia was $342 million when the agency last updated its statistics. Medical costs represented $3 million in fatalities. The rest was due to income families lost when a wage earner died.
Survivor’s medical costs can add up quickly after injury accidents, particularly when a victim suffers a severe head injury or a permanent disability. Initial hospital charges may be followed by physical therapy, rehabilitative care and at-home medical services.
Personal injury claims include medical expenses that begin at the time of an accident. When an injury is long-term or permanent, future expenses must be calculated. The same is true for lost wages, with earnings losses based on a victim’s inability to work after a crash and effects on future employability.
Victims of Charleston auto accidents also have a right to file claims for compensation that covers damages with and without established values, like emotional distress, pain and suffering and loss of affection or companionship.
State laws define who can file claims and what damages are permissible according to the type of legal action a plaintiff takes. An attorney’s claim assessment will clarify what compensation might be recovered after an accident.