Everything about our lives can change in an instant. Suppose, for example, you’re one of the nearly three million Americans injured in a traffic accident each year. Maybe you experience only minor injuries, or maybe you end up in the hospital with serious injuries and sky-high medical bills. Maybe you have to declare medical bankruptcy because of the costs. Anything can happen – and that’s a scary reality, but there are steps you can take to prepare yourself.
One way to prepare yourself for the potential outcomes of a car accident, since most of us will eventually be involved in one, is by evaluating the possible costs in advance. Though the costs can vary widely depending on your injuries, evaluating worst-case scenarios when they’re not actively happening can make your circumstances more manageable if and when problems do arise.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries. Some, like bruises and abrasions, broken bones, and whiplash, are typically diagnosed quickly. Other, such as brain injuries, may be missed on first examination, but can lead to long-term functional problems. And like these widely variable injuries, the recommended course of treatment for those injured in a car accident can also vary greatly. Some patients will escape the ER with just an exam and a few x-rays. Others will require more advanced imaging, surgery, and extensive follow-up care.
Medical Costs: Thinking Ahead
There are several ways to address car accident-related medical costs, but your first line of defense will be insurance – your car insurance and your healthcare insurance, as well as the insurance of anyone else involved in the crash if you’re not at fault. Working with an experienced car accident attorney, you’ll be encouraged to think ahead to what kinds of additional care you’ll need down the line, such as continued rehabilitation, additional surgeries, or modifications to your home.
If you can’t work after a car accident, you’ll also want to account for loss of income, delays in disability payments, and any additional losses due to a spouse or children having to take time off to care for you. Though you can reduce expenses if it comes to that, serious injuries and health troubles typically come with increased costs, not decreased ones.
Many Americans delay medical care, whether they’re sick or they’ve been in an accident, because they don’t have sufficient health insurance, but the fact is that one of the best ways to avoid large long-term care costs is by seeking appropriate treatment immediately. This ensures that treatable injuries don’t worsen, leading to even greater expenses later on.
It’s also important to be regimented about any prescribed rehabilitation after you’ve been triaged. With serious injuries, rehab is often the main thing standing between you and a chance at a normal life. Rigorous rehab may seem expensive at first, but you need to prioritize this care if you hope to regain function.
It may be hard for you to envision potential future disasters like car accidents or surgeries, and it may even feel stressful or silly, but it’s just like the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Anything you can do now to help you better navigate a crisis down the line is to your advantage.