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What do car accidents really cost?

It goes without saying that human lives are the most difficult and substantial cost of car accidents. Thousands of people pass away every year in Colorado alone. However, it's also interesting to note the very high financial cost of these accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that cost to be around $1 trillion. This includes both loss of life and loss of productivity.

This study looked at the numbers for 2010, though it was compiled in 2014.

One thing that is interesting is that the amount of money being claimed in car accidents has been going up. Inflation was considered, but the rate of rise is faster than that. This is intriguing, though, because severe injuries have been moving in the other direction, trending downward, as have fatalities.

For example, in 2012, there were 33,782 fatalities. In 2013, the number dropped by 3.1 percent, getting down to 32,719.

One thing that skews these numbers is that a lot of car accidents actually are not reported, so it's impossible to factor in these costs. Though there is also no way to know for sure how many are not reported, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has gone out and estimated that there could be 10 million, at least.

For the sake of fairness, it's worth noting that some accidents may not be reported just because they are so minor that there are no injuries, no damage, and no costs.

If you've been involved in an accident, you need to know what rights you have to seek compensation, for both economic and noneconomic losses.

Source: RMIIA, "Cost of Auto Crashes & Statistics," accessed June 19, 2015

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