I am a personal injury lawyer and car accident lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia,
and I have been writing a series of blog entries about a report issued by the
American Automobile Association (“AAA”) called
AAA report 2011.pdf
The AAA report talks about all of the costs that we as individuals and
as a society incur because of traffic and congestion. The frustrating
delays, wasted gasoline and pollution are just the tip of the iceberg,
it turns out. The far greater cost of traffic is the toll it takes on
society when auto accidents increase.
AAA lists eleven costs that individuals and society incur as a result of
car accidents. Since I am a personal injury lawyer, I started out with
the costs that are recoverable in a lawsuit as damages. After overviewing
the report in my first blog entry, I covered “Property Damage”
and “Lost Earnings” in Part 2 of this series. Part 3 of this
series covered the costs car accidents extort in the way of “Lost
Household Production” and “Medical Expenses”. In Part
4, I discussed the “Pain and Lost Quality of Life” that a
person hurt in a car accident experiences, and the “Vocational Rehabilitation”
the person may have to undergo in order to go back to work. All of these
types of losses can be recovered in a car accident lawsuit as damages.
In Part 5, I covered two types of societal costs: “Emergency Services”
and “Travel Delay.” Those types of costs are borne by society
as a whole, and are not part of what a person can recover in a car wreck lawsuit.
* Workplace costs. When a person is injured in a car accident, his workplace has to make
adjustments to deal with the fact that the person is absent. Even if the
person will be able to return to work, the employer has to figure out
what to do in the meantime. If the company does nothing, it may wind up
falling behind and generating less revenue for the year. If the company
tries to make up for the loss, it will have to hire a temporary worker
(who has to be trained) to fill in, or it may have to ask other employees
to add the injured person’s tasks on top of their own workloads.
If the injured person will not be able to return to work, the employer
has to figure out how to address the loss of an experienced employee.
Any of these measures cost the company in terms of productivity and often
in terms of revenue.
* Administrative costs. Georgia and most states require drivers to carry insurance, although the
required amount is quite low. When a car accident occurs, the insurance
companies swing into motion, getting accident reports, interviewing the
drivers and witnesses, and reviewing the medical bills and other costs.
The administration of the insurance policy costs society.
* Legal costs. Insurance companies hire lawyers to review and oppose the claims of the
people in the accident. These legal costs are direct. Car accident attorneys
who represent the injured people usually work on a contingency fee, as
I do. In that case, the legal costs are more indirect, but they do not
disappear. If the person injured in the car wreck wins the case, then
the fees come out of the winnings. The attorney bears all the risk of
losing the fees if the injured person does not lose the case.