Understanding the financial impact of traffic accidents

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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On an annual basis, an unacceptable amount of motor vehicle accidents take place. In San Francisco, and in other California cities, these accidents keep occurring for many reasons, such as drunk driving, speeding and inattentive drivers, to name only a few. Sadly, these crashes claim lives, generate lifelong emotional pain for families and leave victims with injuries that interrupt their life in countless ways. However, these collisions also have a significant financial impact as well.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic accidents in the U.S. generated $242 billion in costs over the course of 2010. However, when peoples’ quality of life is taken into consideration (job loss, etc.), costs during this year exceeded $800 billion. Some of the costs are brought on by lost productivity, property damage, funerals, traffic congestion and medical treatment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that employers lose $60 billion per year as a result of motor vehicle accidents. If a worker loses his or her life, the person’s employer may have to spend over $500,000. However, even auto crash injuries are costly for companies, since the average traffic accident injury leads to $74,000 in costs for an employer. These costs, which include missed productivity in the workplace, legal fees, damaged property and medical treatment, have a major impact on companies across the country.

Above all, traffic accidents upend lives and create suffering that never should have arisen in the first place. While preventing an accident after-the-fact is impossible, victims and their families should try to successfully manage their circumstances afterwards.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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