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What You Should Know About Including Future Medical Bills in an Injury Claim

stethoscope on top of billing statementWhen an injury victim reaches maximum medical improvement – the point when an injury is unlikely to heal further, even with medical intervention – doctors need to determine if there is a legitimate need for ongoing treatment.

If there is a need for ongoing treatment, the injury victim’s Harrisburg personal injury lawyer needs to assess the potential cost of that ongoing treatment. The problem is, there is no definitive way to determine all the medical costs the victim may incur in the future. These damages must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

That is why victims need an experienced attorney managing their case. You cannot rely on the insurance company to provide fair compensation for future medical expenses. They regularly undervalue future damages, including medical expenses.

Ongoing Treatment Victims May Need

Injury victims could need anything from more surgery to physical therapy, prescription medication, ongoing appointments with doctors, and diagnostic testing. Treatment needs will depend on the injury, its severity, how the victim responds to different treatment, and doctor recommendations. There could also be unexpected setbacks that are not the victim’s fault, such as infections.

Victims may also incur costs for hiring an in-home caregiver, purchasing medical equipment to help with mobility, rehabilitation, and transportation to and from medical appointments.

It is important to note you are not going to be able to recover compensation for future medical treatment unless doctors say you need it. The insurance company is going to need medical records stating you need ongoing treatment. In fact, even with this information, the insurance company may fight you on providing compensation.

How do Attorneys Determine What Future Medical Care May be Worth?

Your attorney will need to review several factors to determine how much compensation you may need to cover ongoing medical bills.

Once doctors determine the victim needs ongoing treatment, your attorney can review what the doctor said and may also bring in medical and economic experts to help assess the situation. They not only need to assess the types of treatment, but also the likely costs of the treatment over the rest of the victim’s life.

Some of the factors that will need to be assessed by your attorney and experts, who may be brought in to consult on the claim, may include:

  • Age
  • Life expectancy
  • Where you are in your recovery
  • What your health was when the injury occurred
  • Severity of the injury
  • How you have been responding to treatment
  • Typical costs of treatments you may need
  • How long you could have problems because of the injury
  • Goals of treatment
  • Inflation rates
  • Alternative care options that may be available

The value of a victim’s future medical bills is anything but an arbitrary number. That is why victims should not rely on online calculators to determine what their future medical costs may be worth. It is important to hire an experienced attorney who has helped many other victims recover future medical expenses.

Even though insurance companies do detailed calculations when making settlement offers, they routinely undervalue claims, including claims involving future medical costs. The attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are committed to pursuing maximum compensation.

Common Methods for Calculating Future Medical Bills

Many attorneys use either the total lifestyle approach or the additional expense method to calculate future medical costs.

The total lifestyle approach is meant to determine the cost of the victim maintaining quality of life that is as near as possible to the victim’s pre-accident quality of life. Typically, this approach is used when the victim suffered a catastrophic injury, like a brain injury or spinal cord injury. The victim cannot live independently and needs assistance each day.

The additional expense method is often used when the injury is severe but not catastrophic. The victim needs ongoing treatment but his or her independence has not been eliminated or affected in a drastic way. The attorney looks at the specific costs of the expenses you may incur, like the cost of surgery or medical equipment.

Injured by Another’s Negligence? Call Schmidt Kramer

An injury can completely derail a person’s life. Not only do victims deal with physical challenges and limitations, but they may also suffer serious financial consequences because they cannot work as much as before.

At Schmidt Kramer, we understand what injury victims go through because we have helped so many recover compensation. For more than 30 years, we have been serving injury victims and seeking maximum compensation on their behalf.

Have questions about what to do after an injury? Give us a call today. The initial consultation is free and there are no upfront fees or legal obligations.

Schmidt Kramer. Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Phone: (717) 510-1770.