White lily - symbol of deathIt is—not surprisingly—deemed inappropriate to discuss the toll which death exacts on the surviving loved ones of the decedent in terms of tangible, monetary terms.  Yet, crass and indelicate though it may seem, the actual expenses that are concretely associated with fatal accidents are an imposing, unavoidable reality for those left in the wake thereof.  Over 100,000 people in the United States every year find themselves forced to tally up the “value” of the person they lost in seeking the means to pay for their loss, whether in terms of lost earnings which would have gone toward the support of dependents or of pain and suffering as a result of their untimely passing.  Sometimes, lack of experience or bewilderment causes the person responsible for such a task to forget important factors or to fail to take them into account in the first place.  These oversights can lead to problems down the road, which can, in turn, prolong the pain surrounding the accident.

As uncomfortable as it may seem presently, the best way to put a fatal accident behind you is to be aware of the expenses up front to ensure that whatever settlement you seek will be equal to the task of putting affairs to rest.  This requires some knowledge of what charges arise and how much each can be expected to amount to.  These charges, of course, are variable; and because there are different kinds of fatal accidents, the costs involved will be separated into four categories.

1.     Medical bills

The actual amount spent on medical care naturally depends on the type of accident; however, the variance is not enormous.  In a motor vehicle accident (often the most expensive accident type), only 17 percent of expenses go toward medical bills.  For work, home, and public accidents, the amount is about 23 percent.

2.      Lost wages

What may come as a surprise, however, is that in virtually no fatal accidents are medical costs the highest expenditures.  On average, lost income makes up for about 52 percent of the cost of a fatal accident.  With motor vehicle accidents, lost income only accounts for 34 percent of the total cost; however, when the accident took place at home or in a public place, lost income constituted 65-70 percent of expenses.  The vast majority of the time, the biggest source of loss will be forfeited potential.

 3.     Administrative costs

It boggles the mind to consider that a full 17 percent of fatal accident costs could go toward middle men; but that happens to be the case.  In fact, that percentage is 32 percent in a motor vehicle crash and 20 percent where the death occurred in a home environment.  While it may be all too easy to write off such expenses as the least of your concerns, that is hardly the case.

Because statistical data can only predict general trends, it is important to seek guidance in dealing with specific situations.  Since fatal accidents are as complex as they are costly—no less because the immaterial difficulties of death are enough on their own—a personal injury attorney can be a source of invaluable advice to the survivors regarding the steps they should take and the capital necessary to make those steps only once.  While insurance companies and other supposed sources of income are, alas, too often less than forthright in their actual dealings with people in need, a personal injury has no motive to be anything but honest.

For those forced into the fray while burdened by the weight of a personal tragedy, the battle does not need to be fought uphill.  To contact a personal injury attorney in Utah for legal representation or even a free consultation, call Christensen & Hymas at (801) 506-0800.

Image by Dyanna Hyde.

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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