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Atlanta car accident attorneysVehicle crashes take an enormous toll on the U.S. economy and the financial health of those who are injured or suffer the loss of family members.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study in May showing that car crashes cost $871 billion a year, equivalent to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The figure includes $277 billion in economic costs – nearly $900 for each person living in the United States – and $594 billion in societal harm from loss of life and pain and decreased quality of life for victims who are injured.

Behavioral factors that contribute to crashes include drunk driving, speeding and distracted driving.

If you have to go to a hospital in an ambulance following a motor vehicle accident, the medical bills will start mounting after the call to 911.  Even if you are healthy enough to drive yourself to the hospital, an urgent care facility or your doctor, you will start facing bills while you are waiting for your insurance claim or personal injury case to settle.

The ambulance trip alone can cost more than $1,000 in the Atlanta area. Add more than $2,500 for an emergency room examination, emergency surgery or a single night in the intensive care unit, and your medical costs soar.

If your injuries cause a short- or long-term disability or require additional treatment or therapy over a period of time, your bills will continue to add up.

Your health insurance should cover most of your medical expenses.  But if you don’t have health insurance, or if your insurance is not enough to cover all of the cost, you may find yourself in trouble financially.

Georgia insurance regulations require drivers to carry accident liability insurance of at least $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for injury to two or more people and $25,000 for property damage.

While Georgia law does not require motorists to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage or Personal Injury Protection coverage, many drivers add this coverage to their insurance policies. Personal Injury Protection coverage can be used to cover out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, coinsurance or co-pays with your regular health insurance.

Auto accident injuries are painful and expensive. In most cases, you must pay out-of-pocket expenses up front while waiting on a compensation check from your auto insurance. If money is tight, you may be in a precarious situation.

If you don’t have insurance coverage and have to pay your expenses out of pocket, be sure to document every medical-related cost such as:

  • Emergency department visits
  • X rays
  • Prescriptions
  • Over-the-counter medicine
  • Hospital stays
  • Physical therapy
  • Ambulance expenses
  • Transportation to and from your medical appointments

If you can’t cover these costs, work out a plan with your health care provider to place a hold on your account, which will keep your provider from calling collection agencies as long as you agree to pay when your injury claim is settled.

Georgia has a statute of limitations of two years for cases involving bodily injury and four years for property damage. You must file a lawsuit or settle your case within these time limits.

Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. More than 30,000 people are killed in crashes in the United States, including approximately 1,200 in Georgia each year, the NHTSA reports.

The best way to avoid the pain, heartache and financial hardship stemming from an accident is to do as much as possible to protect yourself by staying sober and attentive behind the steering wheel and making sure you are buckled in at all times when you are in a vehicle, even for a short trip to the grocery store.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in the Atlanta area, or anywhere in Georgia, do not sign anything from an insurance company before consulting a qualified, experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the labyrinth of laws and get the financial resources you need to recover and get back on your feet.

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