If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone’s negligence, you are legally entitled to multiple types of damages – including medical costs. If you have health insurance or medical payments on your automobile insurance plan, you may not initially pay for these costs upfront. Once your medical benefits run dry, then you could find yourself paying for all of your medical care until your lawsuit or claim finalizes.
Even with coverage, victims of an accident have out-of-pocket costs like paying for transportation, prescription, office visit copays, and deductible shares.
Medical costs are often the highest portion of injury lawsuit compensation, because the victim may claim medical expenses already paid along with future medical costs.
Therefore, your medical expenses are vital to your case, and proper documentation ensures that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Medical expenses not only ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, they also serve as evidence. Therefore, before you throw out a receipt or dismiss that over-the-counter medication you purchased, you need to consider the impact your medical costs have on your case overall.
If you are claiming that you were severely injured in an accident, your medical records and the costs of treatment will play a substantial role in proving that. If you say you were severely injured but only have a few hundred dollars in medical expenses to claim, it makes it hard for the court to believe you would have long-term pain and suffering associated with your injury.
On the other hand, if you can prove medical expenses in the thousands, you are more likely to receive compensation for those expenses and also the amount you deserve for pain and suffering.
You could say that you have spent over $100,000 in medical costs. But if you cannot prove them or do not have acceptable evidence establishing those expenses, the court will not give you compensation for them.
Not only do you need to show that the other party is at fault for your injuries, but you must show that the medical expenses you are trying to collect are legitimate ones.
The financial consequences of your accident are known as damages, and you must establish your damages through medical expenses, receipts, and statements. Therefore, you should save every document you receive regarding your post-accident medical care. Even if insurance pays for those expenses, you need to keep documentation about any money paid out by your insurer.
Medical offices and insurance companies will have records that show the amount collected and amounts pending. However, you cannot rely on them to furnish all documentation and documents might be overlooked. Therefore, you should keep records, too.
Receipts, statements, and bills are only half of the equation. Simply supplying the court with a file folder full of receipts will not be enough, because the defense might argue that some of those medical treatments were unnecessary.
Therefore, your attorney starts with the medical costs but then goes through other steps to get your medical statements and receipts admitted into evidence.
One of the most critical steps to proving your medical costs are legitimate is finding someone to testify. You need a party that can attest to the authenticity of the medical expenses you are claiming or through a stipulation.
A stipulation is when both sides agree that the evidence can be submitted at trial. That means the defense would have to agree your medical costs are legitimate. This rarely happens in an injury case unless the defense wishes to settle.
Instead, your attorney will need someone that can submit testimony about the expenses. Often, there is more than one party testifying about the legitimacy of your medical expenses. Some of the parties who may prove it include:
Another critical step to getting your medical costs into evidence is showing they were reasonable and necessary. The defense might argue that your medical expenses are unreasonable and try to not pay for specific treatments they feel are not indicated.
The reasonableness and necessity of your medical treatments are established in multiple ways, including:
It is a common defense strategy to state that the medical expenses are unnecessary or not medically reasonable. The plaintiff has the burden of proof to show that not only the defendant is at fault, but that the expenses they claim are justified. The necessity and reasonableness of your medical treatment can be proven through the testimony of medical professionals and yourself.
As the plaintiff, you can testify about the treatments you received but you do not have the medical expertise to state why they were necessary. Instead, your attorney might have you testify to show:
In some cases, your testimony is all the court needs to justify the expenses. In most cases, however, the court will want to hear from a medical expert (such as a doctor) about the reasons for the treatment and justifications as to why they were used.
Realize the other side will have their experts testify why the treatments were unnecessary. But that is why your attorney will not only have your doctor testify, but they will also have another practitioner in the same field testify.
Your physician will testify about the following:
Another medical expert may testify to validate what your physician says. In this case, the licensed physician did not treat you, but they are testifying about:
Proving medical expenses and getting the compensation you need to pay for those expenses is difficult. You need an attorney with experience handling personal injury claims so that you can get the compensation you deserve.