November 19, 2021
Car accidents often have a lasting impact on victims. While some injuries heal within a few months or years, other injuries may require ongoing care for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, it’s possible to pursue a claim for future medical expenses after an accident. However, it can sometimes be an uphill battle.
Working with a skilled personal injury lawyer in Nevada can help you determine future medical costs and seek maximum compensation for your injuries.
Future medical expenses are a form of damages potentially awarded in personal injury cases. Generally, future medical care costs can include but are not limited to the following:
- Ongoing surgeries
- Follow-up physician visits
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Years or decades of continued medical treatment
- Prescription medications
- Testing and diagnostics
- Potential changes needed to your residence due to the injury
- Cost of medical equipment purchase and upkeep
Accident victims who incur catastrophic injuries may require medical care long after reaching their maximum medical recovery.
For that reason, insurers consider many factors when determining the value of future medical care costs. However, your needs may change depending on your current health, age, the nature of your injuries, and many other considerations.
A skilled personal injury attorney can help you avoid potential lowball offers by considering all factors before determining your case’s current and future value.
Maximum Medical Recovery Definition (MMI): Maximum medical recovery refers to the point that your injury ceases to improve. For some people, that could mean full recovery. For other people, their maximum medical recovery may equate to a small percentage of their pre-injury health.
How to Calculate Future Medical Expenses
Calculating future medical care expenses isn’t an easy task. It often requires an attorney to prove that future medical treatment and the calculated costs of ongoing medical care are necessary. Further, accident victims must show that future medical care is likely needed.
Generally, there are two methods of calculating future costs associated with your injury: the total lifestyle approach and the additional expense method.
Also called the “total lifestyle approach,” this method calculates how much it will cost to maintain a quality of life similar to what the victim experienced before the accident. An attorney is more likely to use the total lifestyle approach in cases that involve permanent catastrophic injuries.
Common examples of damages awarded when calculating the effect on a victim’s total lifestyle include the cost of:
- Full-time nursing staff
- Transportation needs for medical appointments
- Expenses related to a home remodel to accommodate the victim’s injuries
The “additional expense method” only considers the costs directly related to your injury—for example, the cost of ongoing surgeries, medication, medical equipment, etc. A lawyer may use this method for cases that require ongoing rehabilitation but which are not permanent.
Accident victims using the additional expense calculation method may be eligible to recover compensatory damages for expenses like:
- Physical rehabilitation
- Medical treatment and equipment
- Massage and chiropractic sessions
It’s up to you and your personal injury lawyer to prove to the insurer or court that future medical expenses should be included in a settlement offer. That generally requires the enlistment of expert medical witnesses, personal physicians, and accountants.
A few factors that may affect the value of future medical care costs in your claim include:
- If there are cheaper alternative methods of care
- The effectiveness of your current medical treatment
- Whether or not it’s likely your health will worsen overtime
- Inflationary concerns
- The method your attorney uses to calculate future healthcare costs
Every personal injury case is different. Generally, most insurers require you to produce strong evidence showing the need for future healthcare costs. Examples include:
- Current and past medical records
- Expert testimony – typically by the victim’s physician
- Evidence of following physician orders
- Bills, invoices, and statements showing the present value of your injuries
- Costs associated with future care (including the effects of inflation over time)
Proving the need for future medical expenses in a personal injury claim can be a complicated process. Working with an experienced personal injury attorney can help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your injuries now and in the future.