Sooner or later, you might have a car accident. Even fender benders can turn into nightmares without legal representation.

Des Toups, contributing to Forbes, predicts you’ll be involved in a vehicle accident once every 17.9 years, “Over the course of a typical long, driving lifetime, you should have a total of three to four accidents.”

What’s the cost to you?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on 2012 vehicle accidents. Americans spend 1 million plus days in the hospital as the result of crash injuries. Injuries suffered in car crashes led to $18 billion in lifetime medical costs. And, the injured lost work amounting to $33 billion.

They don’t make cars the way they used to. The upside is that the bodies, fenders, and bumpers are made of lightweight and easily damaged composite materials. These features can be easily fixed and replaced.

On the downside, cars are now so technologically complex that they can damage beyond repair without appearing to show damage. The average cost of $4,000 is deceptive because it is a nationwide average calculated over the multiple events.

Of course, accidents put your insurance premiums as a risk. An increase in premium depends on the seriousness of the accident damage. If the accident is deemed your fault, the premium is likely to increase. And, even if it is not your fault, you may see an increase.

But, if you have had a good driving record during your time with the insurance company, they may forgive some of the cost because you have been a valuable customer.

The Cost of Injuries

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Real troubles start when you get hurt or you hurt others. It starts with bodily injury liability coverage that kicks in when the accident is the other driver’s responsibility. In most states, you have to carry a minimum amount of coverage for damage done to people and to other vehicles. Bodily Injury Liability does not cover you.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) will cover your medical costs up to a stated limit. It’s a “no-fault” decision even if the fault is yours.

Another layer of insurance covers medical bills no matter who’s at fault. It pays no other damages, but it does pay medical payments. And, Uninsured Motorist Coverage pays for your bodily injury expenses when the accident is caused by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver.

The presence of such insurance does not prevent additional legal action against you. The insurance discourages litigation by taking care of reasonable costs. But, litigation is a natural choice when the cost of injury, disability, and death exceed the insurance limits.

In the words of Miami Car Accident Attorney Boris Lavent (http://www.laventlaw.com/car-accidents/), “Unfortunately, if you don’t work with an attorney knowledgeable in the areas of car accidents and victim representation, you risk suffering the tragedy of the accident alone and without compensation.”

Retaining protection

There’s not the best time to secure a car accident attorney. One of the first calls you make after an accident should be to your attorney. After you show concern for the other party to the accident, call the police and emergency medical services, if indicated. Next, call your attorney and insurance company before you exchange insurance information.

The attorney may not act on the report immediately, but you are on record to initiate the lawyer’s attention. The signs you need to contact your car accident attorney if you or others have sustained severe injuries, if you or others incur major medical costs, and if you or others lose time at work.

Trying to manage this on your own only risks additional loss.