Car accidents account for about 50,000 deaths each year. Even the most mild accidents can send shockwaves through the everyday lives of motorists affected by them. Believe it or not, a simple fender bender can send you to the hospital!
In order to make a complete recovery, many car accident injuries require surgery. Surgeries and their aftermath can cost you a lot of time… and money. If someone else’s careless or reckless actions caused a car accident that injured you, you shouldn’t have to pay for the surgeries you need to heal.
In this blog post, we discuss some common surgeries you might need after getting hurt in a car accident, what they might cost you, and how you can make sure the person at fault for your accident pays for them. Learn more from the experienced Houston car accident attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Attorney At Law.
Common Surgeries Needed After a Car Accident
Car accident deaths increase in the United States nearly every year, and Americans drive over three billion miles each year. With numbers like that, accidents are unfortunately inevitable.
Americans collectively spend over one million days in the hospital each year recovering from car accident injuries. Many of those injuries require surgery to correct. For example:
Knee injuries are a common consequence of car accidents. In any given crash, a person’s knees can slam into the dashboard or get twisted in unnatural directions. The resulting damage to the bones, ligaments, and cartilage in the knee often requires surgery to fix.
After surgery, knee injuries also often require months or years of rehabilitation and physical therapy. If you need a knee replacement, the average cost for that surgery is about $50,000. That’s not pocket change – many people will need help to pay for that surgery, and we know how to get it.
Collisions exert extreme forces on cars and the human bodies inside them. Vehicle occupants get thrown, bounced, and jolted around, which can lead to serious injuries to their spinal columns and the delicate spinal cords inside them.
Discs can rupture. Vertebrae can crack. These injuries frequently require surgery to fix and years of rehabilitation afterward. Victims may struggle with chronic pain for the rest of their lives. In serious cases, victims may need emergency surgery to relieve pressure and swelling that could cause paralysis by a spinal cord injury. The reported costs associated with spinal surgery vary widely, but routinely creep into tens of thousands of dollars.
Back injuries can inflict extreme physical and emotional pain, with financial pain to match. Over half a million Americans file for personal bankruptcy protection each year because they can’t pay their medical bills. Do not become a statistic! Work with a trusted car accident injury attorney who can help you avoid financial ruin and maximize your financial recovery.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries, usually referred to as TBIs, are all too common in car accidents. Concussions represent the mildest form of a TBI, while more severe cases result in permanent impairments and disabilities. These injuries occur when someone suffers a blow or jolt to the head in a car crash.
Some brain injuries result from direct damage to brain tissue. They can worsen, however, when bleeding and swelling are involved. Emergency surgery can relieve those conditions and minimize the harm done by a brain injury, but it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Long term care after a surgery may also be necessary.
Car accidents commonly leave vehicle occupants with broken bones. While many bone breaks heal with relatively straightforward medical care, more complex fractures may require surgery and implantation of hardware to stabilize and repair the accident victim’s bone. These surgeries cost thousands of dollars, inflicting an economic toll that can double or triple when a fracture requires multiple surgeries to fix.
Internal injuries are often among the most severe and dangerous injuries a person can sustain in a car accident. Ruptured organs, collapsed lungs, internal bleeding, and other types of internal injuries require extensive surgical intervention costing tens of thousands of dollars or more. Many internal injuries also lead to long-term health complications that further add to a patient’s medical costs.
Paying for Expensive Medical Procedures
Recovering from car accident injuries is not a process you want to rush. You’re bound to miss work while recuperating. A serious injury could even leave you out of work indefinitely, or may make it impossible for you to do the same job you did before the accident.
This puts you in a precarious position: staring at a mountain of medical bills while your reserves of paid time off are drained and your cash flow slows to a trickle.
The law, however, can help in situations just like yours. We can all agree that a car accident should not bankrupt a person who had no fault in causing the crash in the first place. That’s why, with the help of a skilled car accident injury attorney, victims of car accidents can take legal action to obtain payment from the at-fault parties. Damages available will vary from case to case, but they almost always include the direct economic costs of accident injuries, like medical expenses and lost wages.
Of course, lawsuits don’t happen overnight. In the meantime, you may need to find ways to cover some of your costs of medical care. For many people, paying for health care after a car accident becomes a matter of figuring out which insurance policy may cover necessary procedures.
These may include:
- Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Depending on the state where you live, your auto insurance policy may include PIP coverage that insures you for the costs of your own injuries in a car accident. If you own or drive a vehicle, a PIP policy may serve as your primary insurance to pay for medical care up to a specified limit.
- Health insurance. Accident victims who carry health insurance may also count on that insurance to cover some of the costs of healthcare after a car accident. This leaves them subject to co-pays, deductibles, and coverage limits, of course.
- Workers’ compensation insurance. If your car accident happened while you were at work, then workers’ compensation insurance can cover the costs of caring for your injuries.
If you have insurance to cover the cost of your medical care after a car accident and you take legal action for damages, your insurance carrier will have the right to get reimbursed for any payments it makes for you in the meantime. Talk to an experienced car accident lawyer to learn more about how insurance can pay for medical care while you wait to resolve a legal claim.
Insurance Settlement Dangers
Here’s an important tip: Do not confuse the availability of your own insurance coverage with someone else’s insurance offering to pay for your care.
If the other driver’s insurance company reaches out to you after your car accident, be careful! This insurance company is not on your side. If they offer to settle, that means only one thing: The person who purchased insurance from that company probably has legal liability to you, and the insurance company wants to get out from under that liability for as little money as possible.
Direct settlement offers like this reflect a tricky insurance tactic. The insurer really hopes you need the money now, and that you will jump at any settlement amount it offers.
Don’t fall prey to this tactic! Don’t get taken advantage of. Agreeing to a settlement means giving up your right to take further legal action. Do not give up those rights for cheap. Instead, work with an attorney who can evaluate the full amount of money you deserve to receive for your car accident injuries (including the costs of surgeries), and who has the skill and experience to negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies and defense attorneys.
Six Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The steps you take immediately after your car accident can play an important role in your ability to recover compensation from the at-fault party. Follow these steps to protect your health, wellbeing, and legal rights:
- Call 911. This may seem obvious, but it’s important enough to emphasize. Always call 911 after a car accident so police and emergency medical personnel can respond to the scene. This serves the purpose of making sure your accident gets reported to the proper authorities, crash reports get created, and you have immediate access to potentially life-saving medical care for your injuries.
- Take pictures. If it is safe for you to move around the accident scene, take as many pictures of the scene as possible, including images of the vehicles, the road surface, and the surrounding area.
- Speak with witnesses. If you take note of anyone who witnessed the accident, try to get their names and contact information so your attorney can follow up with them. Their statements can help you recover compensation from at-fault parties.
- Seek further medical attention. After you receive medical care at the scene of the accident, always also follow up with your regular doctor. They can evaluate you for any hidden injuries. Serious injuries – ones that can follow you for the rest of your life – might not present any symptoms for days. Don’t gamble with your health! Seek follow-up care. Additionally, the medical records created when you see the doctor can become important evidence documenting your claims for compensation.
- Keep a personal injury journal. As you recover from your surgery and your other injuries, you may wish you could just forget about the trauma you have gone through. We understand, but we also find that keeping a journal of your healing and recovery process helps to put into words the pain and difficulty that you experience. That sort of record can prove extremely valuable to your attorney when the time comes to seek compensation for the harm a car accident did to you and your family.
- Contact a car accident injury lawyer. Do not wait to seek legal advice after a car accident turns your life upside down. The critical evidence you’ll need for your case gets more and more difficult to collect as time passes. Proving someone else’s liability can get harder and harder, especially whe you’re on your own. Get a lawyer working for you right away to give yourself the best shot at recovering every penny of compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact a Car Accident Injury Lawyer for More Information
Car accidents cause injuries that inflict severe physical, emotional, and financial pain. Money cannot turn back time or ease the discomfort you feel while you recover from a surgery, but it can pay for your care, replace your lost income, and give you the support you need to return to living your life.
To learn more about your legal rights after a car accident injury needs surgery, reach out to an experienced car accident injury attorney. They can answer your questions and help you decide how to take the first step on the road to justice.