How Much Does It Cost to Be Hospitalized After a Car Accident?

If you’re hurt in a car or motorcycle crash, along with the emotional and psychological harm you experience, you may face financial difficulties as well.

The medical costs of being in a car accident can be tens of thousands of dollars or more. Hospital stays average $4,000 a day, and if you have severe injuries, you may be in the hospital for an extended period of time.

That’s one of the reasons why if you were in an accident and not at fault, it’s so important to speak to an attorney. Otherwise, you may have to pay these costs.

So what can you expect in terms of the costs to be hospitalized following an accident?

Included Medical Expenses

First, before going more into hospital costs, it’s important to realize that you start to accumulate expenses at the scene of an accident.

An ambulance ride can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the services you receive on the ride, how far the ride is to the hospital and what’s covered by your insurance.

Other medical costs by category can include:

  • When you first get to the hospital after an accident, you’ll probably be in the emergency room. The average emergency room bill is $1,500. Then, the emergency room doctors will decide on the next steps, which might include moving you to another part of the hospital for an inpatient stay.
  • Whether you’re in the ER or elsewhere in the hospital following an accident, you’ll likely undergo a great deal of testing. You might get CT scans and X-rays, which can be thousands of dollars, plus you’ll probably do blood work as well.
  • If you need surgery for even a minor injury, that can also be thousands of dollars. Some complex surgeries cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • If you’re prescribed medicines, those can be hundreds of dollars a month.

These are the immediate expenses to expect following an accident and don’t even include the costs in the weeks and months after your accident as far as specialist visits and follow-up appointments. You may also need physical therapy or rehabilitation.

If you work with a personal injury attorney, they can take into account future medical costs, which is an important part of settling a claim.

The average cost for car accident emergency room visits in the U.S specifically is $3,300, which is substantially higher than the average overall ER visit. The average cost of hospitalization for a car accident victim is $57,000.

Most Common Surgeries After a Car Accident

Surgery, whether it’s done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, is very expensive. Some of the most common surgeries needed after car and motorcycle accidents include:

  • Knee surgery: The knees are particularly vulnerable during even minor car accidents because of their position in the vehicle. You may need surgery to fix ligament injuries or broken bones.
  • Back surgery: Along with knee surgery, back surgery is one of the most common procedures needed following a car accident. Back surgery can include something like vertebroplasty, which is done to repair fractures of the bones, or a discectomy, which is a procedure to remove a herniated disc. What’s especially challenging about back surgery after an accident is that the recovery can take weeks or months, which means you’re then out of work for that time.
  • Plastic surgery: If you have burns, scars, or disfigurement from a car accident, you may need plastic surgery to repair those.
  • Brain surgery: In severe cases, someone with a traumatic brain injury may need surgery. For example, if someone hits their head during a car accident, it can lead to brain swelling or a build-up of fluid in the skull, which can be life-threatening.

Who Pays Medical Bills After a Car Accident?

If you’re in an accident, you are generally responsible for paying your medical bills as you get them. There are a couple of exceptions. One is if you are in a no-fault state, and the other is if you have med pay coverage.

Even if another person is at fault in an accident, they’re not legally required to pay your medical bills on an ongoing basis. Instead, if the person is found at fault in court, then they must pay damages. In a personal injury case, your medical expenses for your treatments and hospitalization are a main part of the damages.

However, as they come in, until that time or until a settlement is reached with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you do have to pay your bills.

If you live in a no-fault state, then your own car insurance should pay some or all of your medical expenses if you’re in an accident, up to the limits of your coverage and regardless of who was at fault.

Once your bills go beyond the no-fault limit in your state, then you’re responsible for the rest. If you have health insurance, your medical bills should be covered through that when you meet out-of-pocket requirements. If you don’t have health insurance and you’re hurt in an accident, you’ll have to make payment arrangements with your care providers.

Overall, if you’re hurt in an accident, and you have to be hospitalized, you might have to pay for ambulance fees, ER treatments, surgery, your hospital stay and for nursing and medication costs.

You may also have to add to that the cost of physical therapy and rehabilitation after you leave the hospital.

You will face staggering medical bills, so if you live in a state that allows for it, you should file a claim for damages with the driver’s insurance company that is at-fault in your accident. If the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t cooperate or they make a low offer, then you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit to cover your medical expenses.

Also included in a lawsuit might be the anticipated cost of future medical care you could need and damages for things like lost income as a result of your time recovering from your injuries.

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