If you have been hurt by a careless driver, you may be entitled to claim damages. The word "damages" means the direct form of harm perpetrated on you by the accident. Compensatory damages are one category of damages where the harm done can be directly connected to a specific dollar amount. For example, all the money spent on your medical expenses related to the accident can be paid back to you. Read on to find out more about just one of many compensatory damages – medical expenses.
The High Cost of Medical Expenses
You have undoubtedly heard about the rising cost of medical treatment and may even have experienced it yourself. Just a quick trip to an emergency room can result in billing from dozens of practitioners and procedures, often equaling thousands of dollars in charges. Imagine now what a typical car accident injury situation might incur in charges, beginning with transportation to the hospital and continuing through a long recovery period and future needs. You might encounter any of the below medical expenses, and each and every one should be paid by the other side:
- Hospitalizations and surgeries
- Medications and hard medical goods
- Physical therapy and mental health counseling
- Home health care and nursing
- Diagnostic testing and lab fees
The Ongoing Expenses
Some injuries don't heal in a few weeks or even a few months. In fact, there are certain injuries that never fully heal and leave accident victims vulnerable to ongoing medical expenses for the remainder of their lives. While many at-fault drivers have insurance coverage that will pay most if not all of your usual medical expenses, almost none cover future medical needs. Be very wary of signing a settlement that is presented to you before you know what your future needs will be. Once you sign, you cannot go back and gain compensation not addressed in the settlement. Future medical needs are determined by consulting with medical professionals and your personal injury lawyer.
What About Heath and Auto Insurance?
You may be wondering what role insurance companies play in medical expenses. As long as you are covered for the expense, insurance will pay the bills. As mentioned above, however, you will need to take legal action to force the auto insurer to cover your future medical needs and anything else not already paid. If you have no choice but to use your own health insurance, that carrier will bill the auto carrier for reimbursement. If there is a court case, the health insurance carrier may place a lien on the judgment.
Contact your local car accident attorneys to learn more.