Understanding the Cost of Car Accidents to Taxpayers

Last updated: 04-06-2021

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Understanding the Cost of Car Accidents to Taxpayers

When you think of car accidents, you may think the physical and financial damage only extends to those involved in the incident. At Lwmpersonalinjurylawyers.com, our experience gives us unique insight into the depth of the far-reaching effects of auto accidents. What do you know about how much car crashes cost taxpayers?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that motor vehicle crashes cost roughly $900 billion each year, and taxpayers absorb much of that cost. Hospital bills resulting from car collisions cost more than $70 billion in 2017, and taxpayers bear financial responsibility for victims who cannot cover their hospital bills and those on federal and state programs like Medicaid.

Say that a drunk or similarly impaired driver causes an accident. Under such circumstances, if the responsible party cannot afford legal counsel to mount a defense, taxpayer money supplies him or her with a public defender.

If severe accidents cause damage to public property, such as government vehicles and guardrails, taxes pay for repairs and replacement. On a related note, standard workers’ compensation does not cover civil servants who sustain harm in an auto accident. Instead, taxpayers fund a program called the Federal Employees Compensation Act, which acts much like workers’ comp for federal civilian workers, harbor workers, railroad employees, longshoremen and coal miners.

Unfortunately, the very vehicles dispatched to help those involved in motor vehicle crashes and other emergencies are not immune from harm while navigating the road. Not every motorist notices the flashing lights and blaring sirens of vehicles blazing down the road to provide help, which may cause an accident with emergency vehicles. Every year, crashes involving emergency rescue vehicles cost taxpayers approximately $35 billion. 

Sometimes, the harm sustained from a crash is so severe that it leaves a person disabled. Social Security disability benefits provide disabled individuals with financial help. Some remain disabled for the rest of their lives, and they depend on Social Security to pay for necessities, medical care and more.

Besides disabled persons, Social Security also extends to the children and spouses of people who died in motor vehicle incidents. If partners and children financially depended on the deceased’s income, they may require taxpayer dollars for continued health care, food and housing.

While you may not like how much of your tax dollars go toward helping car crash victims and resulting damages, there could come a day when you or your loved ones need those financial resources. Rather than eliminate taxpayer dollars from the equation entirely, it’s more beneficial to redirect the funding to reduce the accidents that cost so much money.

One alternative is to funnel taxpayer dollars into safety laws and programs that protect drivers and passengers. Manufacturers and other companies that create parts for motor vehicles require new safety regulations, ones that target common defects such as defective tires and airbags.

Further, roads that need maintenance or repair may trigger avoidable accidents and damage to vehicles. The country could spend more taxpayer dollars on construction projects to keep citizens safe.

If more money goes toward defensive driver training and similar programs, it could reduce motor vehicle crashes. Should drivers face harsher punishment for unsafe driving, it may be enough to dissuade them from drinking and driving, texting and driving and similar dangerous actions.

No matter if taxpayer dollars or your insurance company covers injuries and damage resulting from a car accident, you deserve fair compensation and protection for your rights. Contact a legal representative to explore your options for financial recovery.


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