If you get into a serious car crash where you or one of your family members suffers an injury, you may be grateful just to know that everyone survived the collision. However, while gratitude and a positive attitude can make coping with life after an accident easier, you shouldn’t let your desire to stay positive keep you from realistically looking at the situation.

Car crashes are expensive. While most collisions result just in cosmetic damage to the vehicles involved and can cost people on average about $820, others can total vehicles and results in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical costs for the people in the vehicles who get hurt.

Car crash injuries create costs and reduced income

Severe crash injuries, like compound or spiral fractures, amputations, brain injuries and spinal cord injuries can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills and trauma care alone. Then, there will be occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological counseling and future medical expenses, ranging from pain medication to surgery.

As if all of those medical costs weren’t imposing enough, you will also have to cope with the injured person’s sudden loss of income. In cases where someone suffers a brain injury or spinal cord injury and can no longer care for themselves, there may be two lost incomes when one member of the family stays home to take care of the injured party. Your family budget may go from comfortable to extremely tight or even impossible to balance.

Insurance or personal injury settlements should cover future costs, too

Dealing with the financial strain of losing an entire stream of income while acquiring significant new debts can push people into desperation. They may jump at the opportunity for a settlement check in order to repay outstanding medical costs and other bills.

Sadly, an initial settlement offer may be far lower than the actual cost of the crash for your family, as insurance companies know people need money quickly after a crash. Insurance companies have an incentive to settle for as little as possible, so you will have to be proactive about establishing how much the crash will cost your family and advocating for a fair resolution. You may also have to consider a personal injury lawsuit if there isn’t enough insurance to cover the costs involved.