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A broken bone from a wreck may cost more than you think

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2023 | Car Accidents |

Motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of some of the most debilitating traumatic injuries that Americans suffer. Spinal cord injuries, amputations and brain injuries can occur in seconds as a result of a car crash. Contusions, soft tissue injuries and broken bones are also common consequences, especially in higher-speed collisions.

Some people recognize that they have a broken bone immediately after a crash because they cannot fully move their arm or support their weight on their leg. Despite knowing that they will need medical attention, they probably assume that their injury won’t be particularly expensive. However, fractures or broken bones often cost far more than people realize after a crash.

How much can a broken bone cost?

The treatment for some broken bones costs more than insurance will cover. In the simplest cases, a broken bone may require X-ray imaging and then professional medical assistance to set the bone. It may cost several thousand dollars to set a bone. Follow-up care, including the removal of the cast and physical therapy, will increase the costs of care.

In more severe cases, more significant medical intervention will potentially be necessary. Fractures where the bone breaks into multiple pieces or where the bone exits the skin typically require surgery, which can easily cost $15,000 or more. Additionally, workers with broken bones may have to take a leave of absence that could end up costing them weeks worth of wages.

You should also consider the following.

The minimum limit for liability insurance in Georgia is $25,000.  That means that the most the insurance company would have to pay is $25,000, regardless of how badly broken up someone is. Not all people have $25,000 minimum limits in coverage, but a good majority do. That is woefully inadequate coverage if you are even moderately hurt.

To combat that, it is essential for people to have as much Uninsured Motorist coverage as possible.  That covers your injury claim when you have an at-fault hit-and-run driver (there are other minutiae we can get into about how to qualify for a valid UM claim against a “John Doe” hit-and-run driver) or an at-fault driver that has no insurance.  It also covers you when the at-fault driver is underinsured Meaning they do not have sufficient liability insurance to properly compensate you for your injuries caused by the at-fault driver.

And with Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage there are two kinds.  Add on and offset.  Add on is UM coverage that is added on to whatever the liability coverage limits of the at-fault driver are.  Offset UM coverage is where the at-fault driver has say $25k in liability limits.  If you only have UM limits of $25k offset. (or “traditional” UM coverage as some ins carriers call it)  Your $25k in UM is offset by the $25k limits of liability coverage.  So you would only recover $25k total.  If you had $50k in offset UM coverage.  You can collect the $25k in liability coverage from the at-fault driver.  And then get another $25k in UM offset.  You need greater UM limits than the liability limits to be able to collect under your UM coverage if it’s offset.  Because you subtract the Liability amount from the UM amount.  $50k-$25k.  Whereas with add-on UM coverage.  Regardless of how much liability coverage the at-fault driver has.  You can always add on your UM coverage to the liability amount if the case is worth that much.  So the message is.  Get as much UM add-on coverage as you possibly can afford.

Not all fractures heal fully

Most healthy individuals can anticipate making a complete recovery if they receive proper medical treatment for a fracture. Still, not everyone will fully recover. A small number of people may have lingering symptoms because of the severity of their fracture.

In some cases, people may even develop secondary medical conditions that make the lasting impact of the fracture worse than initially anticipated. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is one example of a medical condition that an individual might develop after a broken bone that could lead to lasting disability.

Given the possibility of long-term consequences and how lost wages can amplify the financial impacts of an injurious accident, people often need to be careful when handling insurance claims or pursuing personal injury compensation after a car crash.


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