If you are hurt in a personal injury accident, like a car accident or slip and fall accident, how your injuries have affected your life are crucial to your claim for compensation against the negligent party. Depending on how serious your accident was, you may have suffered long-term injuries that require extensive medical treatment. When filing your claim with the negligent party’s insurance company, you need to ask for all of the medical expenses that you are entitled to.
What Types of Medical Expenses Can You Be Reimbursed for in a Personal Injury Case?
Your medical expense claim can include all necessary and reasonable medical expenses that you incur as a result of your accident. You are entitled to both your past and your future medical expenses as part of your settlement. It is very important that any future medical needs are included in your settlement because you cannot reopen your claim once it is settled. Here are the types of medical expenses that you may incur which you are entitled to be reimbursed for:
- Hospital bills. You may need to be hospitalized immediately following your accident and later if you need additional surgeries. Any ambulance bills, emergency room expenses, and hospital costs should be included in your claim.
- Diagnostic testing. Diagnostic tests to determine the extent of your injuries and to determine how well you are healing are recoverable expenses.
- Surgery. You may need surgery immediately if you suffered a head injury, spinal cord injury, or internal organ damage. Your doctor may have you try a course of physical therapy before ordering surgery if you suffered soft tissue injuries, such as to your back, neck, or knees.
- Therapy and rehabilitation. Physical therapy can be a big part of the recovery from many injuries. If you suffered injuries to more than one body part, you may need to see more than one physical therapist. If you are unable to return to your former job due to your injuries, you may also need the assistance of an occupational therapist who can help you determine the jobs that you are able to do and the training that you will need. Other rehabilitation therapists may assist you in adjusting to your condition if you suffered paralysis, traumatic brain injury, or an amputation.
- Doctor visits. If you suffered any serious injuries, you will need multiple doctor appointments to follow up on your recovery. You may need to see a specialist who specializes in treating your injuries. Be certain to include these expenses in your claim.
- Medications. You are entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of prescription and over-the-counter medications that you need to treat your injury and manage your pain.
- Assistive aids. Depending on your injury, you may need assistive aids such as a wheelchair, shower chair, cane, or other aids to help you be mobile and take care of your personal needs. If you suffered a catastrophic injury, you may need adaptations made to your home or technological aids to help you cope with your disability.
- Travel expenses. While not a common medical expense, you can recover the travel costs you incur if you must travel a distance to receive your medical care.
How to Prove Your Medical Expenses
You must prove both the negligence of the person or business that caused your injury and the amount of compensation that you are entitled to—including your medical expenses. This includes showing that your treatments were necessary and reasonable, medical treatments that you will need in the future, and the expenses that you have and will incur. Here are ways to prove this:
- Hospital, surgery, ambulance, and emergency room bills
- Diagnostic test bills
- Bills from any doctors, physical therapists, and any other medical care providers that you received care from
- Receipts for your medications and over-the-counter medications
- Medical records
- Expert witness testimony, such as from doctors and physical therapists
Importance of Reaching Your Maximum Medical Improvement to Your Settlement
While you may be able to determine your prior medical expenses through reviewing your medical bills and receipts, it can be complicated to determine your future medical expenses. If you have not already made a full recovery, you need to wait until you reach your maximum medical improvement, which is the stage where you have recovered as much as you will or your doctor can give you a final prognosis. By waiting to reach this stage in your medical care to settle your claim, you will be better able to include the cost of your future medical needs in your settlement. Even if you wait until this point to settle your case, you need the assistance of an experienced attorney to value your claim and negotiate a fair settlement.
Did another party’s negligence cause you to suffer injuries in an accident? Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to file your claim and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Start an online chat or call our Fairfax office today to schedule your free consultation.