Statistics show that individuals are less likely to be hurt or killed in a car accident or to file a claim than they were 10 years ago. However, the cost per claim has risen over the same time period, so the claims that are filed are more likely to result in larger settlements. There are several reasons for this phenomenon, including increased vehicle safety and more expensive medical technology being used during treatment of car accident injuries.
Less Likely To Crash, More Likely To Die
People involved in accidents today are more likely to die or sustain serious injuries than they were ten years ago. Between 2004 and 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the rate of fatal accidents dropped by 41 percent and the rate of injury accidents dropped 28 percent. Furthermore, as insurance laws have changed in many states, the rate of injury-related car accident claims has dropped about 15 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the Insurance Research Council. One reason may be graduated licensing laws, which reduce the time young drivers spend behind the wheel.
However, although the overall number of accidents are down, the average cost per claim rose between 32 and 38 percent.
Expensive Car Insurance Claims
There are several possible reasons for the increase in costs of claims for car injury accidents. One of these reasons, ironically, is the prevalence of safety features such as collision avoidance systems or electronic stability control on newer vehicles. These features often prevent minor “fender-benders” and result in fewer of these types of accidents. Unfortunately, this means that when there is a crash, it is more likely to be serious and result in injury or death.
Additionally, the cost of medical care has risen significantly. The use of MRIs and other expensive tests, which are quite common in car injury cases, means that the average injury claim is likely to be far more expensive than it was a decade ago. While consumer spending on car insurance has dropped nearly 20 percent after being adjusted for inflation since 2005, the increase in costs are negating the savings consumers should expect given the drop in overall claims.
While states with liability insurance laws have seen huge increases in costs, such as the 49 percent increase in Texas, states with no-fault insurance law have also seen huge increases in costs. This is particularly true in regard to PIP or personal injury protection, in which each driver must carry insurance to pay for medical bills for himself or herself as well as any passengers.
Because of the increase in medical costs related to car accident injuries, it is very important that victims recover adequate amounts to pay for all necessary treatment as well as other expenses such as lost wages or benefits. One way to ensure that a victim has the support needed to recover adequate compensation is to work with a personal injury attorney. A car accident lawyer may be able to help the victim navigate the complicated process of filing a claim and recovering compensation for car accident injuries.