When you’ve been in a car accident, it can seem like the whole world stops there. In fact, you may want to move on and forget about it as soon as possible. But how does this event impact the rest of your life? Below, we’ll explore a few ways it does just that, from your health to your working life to (and this is quite important) your finances. Car accidents are dreadful experiences, to be sure, but knowing what to do during the aftermath might lessen the harmful impact on your life. Life after a car accident can be managed if you know some strategies to follow.
Why Car Accidents May Happen
The United States is home to just over 200 million owners of a valid driver’s license, and every day, millions of cars, trucks, and motorcycles are sharing the roads and highways at all times of the day, in all weather. Fortunately, most of these drivers are careful and responsible about how they drive, since no one wants to get into a horrible accident. But there will always be drivers who are either reckless or impaired while operating a vehicle, and this is why some six million traffic accidents take place across the United States every year. Car accident cases injure around three million people annually, and tragically, many drivers and passengers will even lose their lives. Car crashes claim nearly 1.25 million lives per year, and the families of those victims might file for wrongful death lawsuits.
Drinking and driving is a common cause of these numerous car accidents. Legally speaking, a driver is impaired (driving drunk) if their BAC, or blood alcohol content, is 0.08% pr higher. In some states, the legal threshold might be even lower than that, and police officers and state troopers alike will pursue and pull over a driver who appears to be driving drunk. Alcohol will lower the driver’s inhibitions and impair their coordination and judgment, resulting in sloppy and erratic driving. These drunk drivers may swerve between lanes aggressively, speed right through red lights and stop signs, and fail to avoid hitting other cars, property, or pedestrians. Law enforcement agents do their best to spot and pull over those drivers, but they can only catch so many. Be sure to look out for drunk drivers yourself, and avoid them.
In other cases, a driver is not drunk, but distracted, and this is worse than it sounds. A distracted driver, while operating their vehicle, is paying attention to a handheld electronic device or the car’s dashboard features, so they may drift into other lanes or go right through red lights and stop signs. These preoccupied drivers may notice other cars or pedestrians too late, and end up hitting them. For this reason, the use of cell phones is often forbidden, so drivers can keep their eyes on the road. A third major reason for car wrecks is simply hazardous weather. Heavy rain lowers visibility and makes the road slick, and cars might hydroplane or fail to see each other or fail to see pedestrians. Snow and ice will also make the roads very slick, and heavy fog or snowfall can reduce visibility. All of this is even more dangerous at night. Drivers are urged to drive carefully, slowly, and with the headlights on during such weather.
Now, what is there to know about life after a car accident? Several factors must be considered, and the first is the physical injury that you have suffered. Your life after a car accident will be shaped around the fact that you have suffered bodily harm, and you may end up in the hospital for those injuries. You may have suffered broken bones, torn muscles, a head injury, or perhaps even partial or total paralysis, such as from the waist down or even the neck down. Even if you are stabilized at the hospital and begin recovery, these injuries will impact your life after a car accident. For one thing, broken bones or paralysis can prevent you from performing paying work for a long time, or perhaps forever. No doubt this is a huge financial impact on your life, and more on that will be discussed later. Or, a head injury may damage your cognitive functions, and you may need therapy for that, too. Whether you are in crutches, a wheelchair, bedridden, or simply have a cast om your good arm, your life after a car accident will be affected by this profoundly. Now, how about some legal aid?
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Most likely, you will want some compensation from the party responsible for the state of your life after a car accident, and this is when you can look up local personal injury law firms to find a car accident injury attorney or car wreck attorney to help you. In fact, some of these law firms are based specifically on auto accident injuries, since this is a common occurrence, and the car accident injury lawyers working there can do a lot of good for you. When you are ready to begin, you can look up these local law firms and visit them, and get a consultation from a car accident injury lawyer working there (this may or may not incur a fee). In person or by phone, you can look up and find a lawyer whose experience, skills, and personality are to your liking, and hire them. The both of you will form a team to assess and deal with your life after a car accident, and pursue litigation (and possibly even go to court) to find compensation.
Having a lawyer on your side is a major boon in nearly every case. For one thing, this attorney will have a cool and clear head, so they can more easily assess the situation and figure out how to use the law to make that case move forward favorably. This will compare to the victim’s emotionally charged and subjective view during life after a car accident. What is more, a car accident attorney will know how to factor in all of their client’s financial problems into the case, such as their medical bills. In fact, the attorney can determine the future financial impact of their client’s inability to perform paid work in the future, and such calculations would be quite difficult for the client to attempt alone. During litigation or court, the lawyer will know how to use the law to advance their client’s case and overcome any hurdles that come along. For example, the at-fault’s party insurance company may be uncooperative or even try to stonewall the victim, but a lawyer will know how to handle that. And if there were multiple parties involved in the accident, this can get complex fast, but a lawyer will know how to assign blame and divide compensation money among the multiple parties.
A New Car
It is likely that your car is now totaled beyond use, and you will enter the market for a new one. Your busted old Toyota or Chevy is toast, but don’t despair; instead, carefully determine the current state of your finances in your life after a car accident, and figure out the best sort of car that you can afford. Local dealers should offer a variety of new and used cars and pickup trucks of all types, and you may be able to take out a loan at the dealer. Or, if desired, you can explore the private seller market and find someone who is selling a car that you might like, and buy it from them instead. A dealer might be tricky to navigate and get a car loan from if you suffered an accident (this will vary), but a private dealer will not concern themselves with that.
Legal Fees and Your Financial Life From Here on Out
Finally, let us discuss money and your life after a car accident since a car accident lawyer is not free to hire. Different attorneys and different legal cases will result in various fee totals, and no hard numbers can be cited here. But what is most likely is that you have some serious legal fees to pay. Unless you can pay them right out of pocket, then paying off those legal fees will require some adjustments to your financial life. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take, minor and major, to do just that during your life after a car accident. Some of them may seem direr than others; a victim is urged to only take as many steps as necessary to pay off those legal fees, and not rashly take any drastic measures.
A lawyer does not have to be the only professional whom you consult during your life after a car accident; why not turn to a financial advisor and ask them for a little guidance, too? But that is not required. As for general strategies, first, consider your spending and savings. How much are were you spending and saving before the accident, and how much do you plan on spending and saving during life after a car accident? Figuring out all this may take some work, and you may make some adjustments that range from minor to pretty drastic. One way or another, you can come up with a log (such as a computer spreadsheet) that accounts for all of your spendings, and total savings, too. If you are tracking and logging everything, then your financial life becomes much clearer, and you will see some patterns in how you spend and save. Some of those patterns might end up getting some adjustments.
Log everything: groceries, mortgage or rent, car payments, lawyer fees, medication, recreational spending, and anything else you can think of. See how much you are spending in each month or even week, and how much you set aside for savings, too, to create a much-needed reference.
In this way, you can quickly diagnose any unexpected patterns or problems in your current financial life, and spotting them sooner is better. Perhaps your mortgage is far too costly when you’ve got lawyer fees to cover, or perhaps you ended up getting a car loan that will spell trouble later on. It may be that you can’t even save money, and your net worth and savings are dropping. After a point, you might even go into debt or bankruptcy, and a spending log will show you if and when that would happen. So, it’s time to make some adjustments long before you reach that point. With all the numbers organized and in the open, your next step will probably be clear.
One option is to change residencies. If you can’t handle your mortgage or rent while paying off legal fees, or if you can’t work anymore, consider moving. You can look up new houses or apartments online that will fit your financial life much better, and plan the move. Your physical injuries may call for friends or family members to help with this, such as moving furniture and the items in your current residence. A financial advisor or real estate agent can help you determine more precisely what sort of residence you can afford, and moving companies can help out with the move itself. In some cases, you might move into an affordable apartment while you build up your financial life to afford a new house later. (The apartment will be a way station of sorts.) In other cases, moving into an apartment is your end goal, and there is nothing wrong with that. The numbers will determine what you can and cannot afford, more than anything.
Bear in mind that taking out a mortgage or a more general loan may be somewhat trickier during life after a car accident, due to insurance numbers, so be ready for that. This may be another reason why you move into a rented property rather than buy one, while you work on building your credit back up. And when it comes to savings, an attitude adjustment can help. Why? People are almost always conditioned to associate money with that money’s potential to help them purchase items and experiences that make them feel good, which can interfere with saving up money. This applies to adolescents and adults alike, but you can change that. Instead of associating money spending with feeling good, learn to feel good when you set aside the necessary money for savings. Your growing savings can be your pride and joy, and it can feel rewarding to resist the urge to spend and instead save up that money. With your mind on your side, saving money and making careful expenditures can be much easier.