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Air ambulance costs after car accidents can be shockingly high

Five people were sent to a Tennessee hospital recently after a truck and a car collided. While news reports did not give many details about the car accident, they did note that four of the five were flown to the hospital by air ambulance.

Medical helicopters and airplanes, sometimes lumped together under the umbrella terms "medevac" or "air ambulance," are life-savers after car accidents in remote locations, or when a victim's injuries are so severe that they need to get to a hospital as soon as possible. About 550,000 Americans are flown to hospitals in helicopters and small planes every year, and there are many people alive today in Tennessee who would not be around had it not been for an air ambulance. A recent medical helicopter crash in Kentucky that killed three crew members serves as a reminder of the personal dedication that air ambulance crews put into their life-saving work.

That said, a trip in an air ambulance is extremely expensive - much more expensive than many Tennesseans may realize. According to one estimate, the average cost of one of these flights is between $12,000 and $25,000. Even those who have insurance to cover most of their medical bills may still have to pay the ambulance bill out of pocket, because many insurance policies pay little, if anything, toward an air ambulance. Some reportedly pay no more than $300 toward a $17,000 bill.

Air ambulances are just one of the factors that go into the huge financial toll of traffic accidents in Tennessee. Those who are injured in car accidents often have enormous medical bills, lost wages from the time they must spend away from work, and other costs. In the case of severe injuries, they may face even higher costs associated with a long rehabilitation or permanent disability.

When Tennessee resident are injured through the negligence of another driver, the injured may be compensated for these damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Those who have been injured and their families should get help understanding the applicable laws and their legal options.

Source: WATE, "Four people flown to hospital after Church Hill crash," June 3, 2013

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