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The cost of fatal car accidents

When people get into car accidents in the Lake Charles area we normally think about the emotional impact for the victims and loved ones. Only later do we think about the cost of car accidents as we turn to the legal system to assess responsibility and liability. In an effort to better understand the monetary costs of fatal car accidents the auto club AAA recently completed a report on the issue.

According to AAA, the average cost of a fatal car accident is around $6 million. The study also computed the average cost of a non-fatal car accident with injury. The average cost of an injury-only crash is $126,000. The AAA report was based on data from the Federal Highway Administration. The data was from 2009. The Federal Highway Administration placed monetary value on 11 different areas: emergency services; medical costs; pain and lost quality of life; lost time at work; legal costs; administrative costs; vocational rehabilitation; lost earnings; property damage; travel delays and loss of household activities.

AAA analyzed all of those costs in 99 urban areas to come to its average. The costs of fatal crashes and car accidents with injuries have risen since the last time AAA conducted a similar report in 2005. Then the average cost of a fatal car accident was $3.25 million and a crash with an injury cost $68,170.

The auto club also compared the cost of car accidents to traffic congestion and found that average cost of crashes in studied cities costs three times as much as traffic congestion. While many of us believe traffic congestion comes from heavy traffic or inadequate roads, about 25 to 40 percent of congestion stems from car accidents, weather and objects on the road.

The report was conducted to remind Congress about safety concerns as it decides a long-term highway funding bill.

Source: USA Today, “AAA: Fatal motor vehicles crash costs $6 million,” Larry Copeland, Nov. 3, 2011

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