Most people think of a motor vehicle accident in terms of the individual costs, both financial and emotional. When an accident results in a fatality, the individual costs are even higher. But what about for the state as a whole? Well, it turns out that the costs of deaths from motor vehicle crashes are also quite costly on a state level.

In 2005, deaths resulting from motor vehicle crashes cost the United States $41 billion. For Tennessee alone, car crash fatalities cost $1.15 billion yearly, which is broken down as follows:

  • $14 million in medical costs
  • $1.14 billion in work loss costs

Why are the work loss costs so high? They’re calculated based on the estimated amount that an average person would be expected to earn in a lifetime, including salary, benefits and the value of household work. Because motor vehicle crash fatalities affect more younger people as a whole, there is a higher work loss cost, since a younger person has the potential of working for more years than an older person.

How do we compare to other states?

Only nine other states – California ($4.16 billion), Texas ($3.50 billion), Florida ($3.16 billion), Georgia ($1.55 billion), Pennsylvania ($1.52 billion), North Carolina ($1.50 billion), New York ($1.33 billion), Illinois ($1.32 billion) and Ohio ($1.23 billion) – surpassed us in terms of the crash-related death costs.

Looking at the statistics from a population-size perspective, Indiana, which has a population of 6.3 million, similar to Tennessee’s population of 6 million, incurred costs of $883 million. Crash-related fatality costs for New York totaled $1.33 billion, only slightly higher, relatively speaking, than the financial costs for Tennessee; New York, however, has a population that’s more than three times the size of Tennessee’s.

There’s no doubt that a motor vehicle fatality has financial repercussions for the state as a whole. For individuals, the effect on family and friends of a wrongful death resulting from a car crash is extremely high. If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one, consult an experienced Tennessee wrongful death attorney to discuss all your legal options.