Caring for a Loved One After a Car Accident? Oklahoma Might Pay You

Caring for a Loved One After a Car Accident? Oklahoma Might Pay YouMany car accident victims suffer catastrophic injuries that don’t change just their lives but also affect the lives of everyone around them. Personal injury victims who have spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries, burn injuries, and other permanent injuries often need physical and emotional help from the people who love them.

At Biby Law Firm, our personal injury lawyers fight for victims who suffer severe injuries due to driver intoxication, distracted driving, speeding, and many other acts of negligence. We demand compensation for all of the victims’ damages, including their long-term medical needs.

In addition to surgeries, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other types of professional healthcare, most accident victims throughout the Tulsa region require help from personal caretakers. The help includes driving the victim to their healthcare providers’ offices, making their meals, running errands, helping with at-home exercises and numerous other tasks and chores.

Now, according to KTUL News, Oklahoma is considering legislation – House Bill 1368, the “Caring for Caregivers” bill – that would provide financial compensation in the form of tax credits to personal caretakers who don’t have medical qualifications, if certain conditions are met.

The Oklahoma director for AARP (The American Association of Retired Persons) states that nearly 500,000 people in Oklahoma care for family members by giving their time and energy. Many accident victims and families can’t afford the expense of long-term care facilities, and many patients would much prefer to live with their families in their communities instead of in a care facility.

Currently, most caretakers help their loved ones at their own expense. The KTUL report states that the cost to take care of someone who is recovering from a serious car accident injury can be $6,000 to $8,000 a year. This is money that the caregiver has to pay out of their own pocket. The costs include:

  • Gas money to go to and from appointments
  • Food
  • Unreimbursed medication expenses
  • Many small items that add up, including CPAPs, home monitors, weight scales, and other medical equipment depending on the type of injuries the car accident victim has
  • Home modifications to help address concerns of reduced mobility or the placement of medical equipment inside the home

House Bill 1368 would compensate a caretaker in the form of a tax credit. The Oklahoma AARP director states that the tax credit could be up to $2,000 per year and up to $3,000 if the person who is receiving care is a veteran or has a dementia-related diagnosis.

One caretaker said her grocery bill went from $150 to over $300 a month. Some caretakers said they had to give up their day job altogether to help their loved ones. While the tax credit won’t replace full time employment it certainly would be a step in the right direction to ensure those helping the most vulnerable Oklahomans don’t fall into financial ruin themselves.

The bill does have bipartisan support. Advocates hope the bill which was approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives will now pass the Senate and be signed by the governor.

What types of catastrophic injuries do car accident victims suffer?

According to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, in 2021, more than 30,000 people suffered injuries due to accidents in Oklahoma, 20,000 of which were roadway crashes. Most of the vehicles involved in these crashes were cars. Some pedestrians and bicycle riders were also among the 30,000 injury victims.

Some of the leading causes of catastrophic car accident injuries occur when cars and trucks collide, when cars are struck by a drunk driver, and when a head-on impact occurs.

When cars crash, the occupants are often thrown about the car or thrown into other objects or people in the vehicle. Even airbags are known to cause crush injuries if they don’t deploy promptly and properly. Some occupants may be ejected from their vehicle.

Some of the catastrophic injuries that require caretaker help include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, traumatic amputation, burn injuries, crush injuries, and loss of vision or hearing. Some injuries leave a Tulsa car accident victim in constant chronic pain due to back, shoulder, neck, nerve, and other types of injuries that never fully heal.

Even injuries that do heal, such as a broken hand, can necessitate caretaker help during the healing process until the person is released by their medical providers and allowed to return to their pre-incident tasks and routines.

What type of care do caretakers provide and who are the caretakers?

Common caretakers, depending on the age of the victim, include parents, spouses, and adult children. Friends and neighbors can provide assistance too. Often, the help caretakers provide is long-term – sometimes for the rest of the car accident victim’s life.

Some of the types of help caretakers provide, in addition to the care previously mentioned, includes paying bills, bathing and dressing the individual, shopping, performing household tasks, and managing the patient’s medicines. Many caretakers provide emotional support and companionship for their loved ones as well.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that caretaker help is becoming a crisis in America. If caretakers were paid for the help they provide, the cost of that care on a yearly basis would be $470 billion a year. CDC studies show that:

  • Women account for 58% of the caretakers in the United States.
  • Most caretakers provide 20+ hours of help each week.
  • 79% of caretakers help adults 50 and older.
  • 76% help people 64 and older.

Caretakers help car accident victims maintain some of their independence, reduce depression, manage their injuries, increase confidence, remain connected to family and friends and develop new skills.  In addition to the financial constraints, caretakers are also burdened with a great deal of stress and anxiety.  Per the CDC, 1 in 7 caregivers has heart disease and/or stroke and 1 in 5 caregivers aged 65 and older have coronary heart disease and/or stroke. Caregivers who continue working often have to leave work early or take time off from work. Those who can often end up reducing their working hours or quitting their normal jobs altogether.

The survivors of car accidents at high speeds or any type of forceful impact often require extensive rehabilitation and long-term personal care. The attorneys about Biby Law Firm will help you understand and assert your rights, including what options and services are available for our clients and their caregivers.  To learn more, call our Tulsa car accident lawyers or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.