Like lost earnings, many personal injury victims have medical bills that are necessary for treatment of their injuries. While the law clearly allows injury victims to be reimbursed for their medical bills, the law is murky on how medical bills are calculated for purposes of a personal injury claim. Commonly referred to by lawyers and insurance companies as the “paid versus incurred” rule, an injury victim can recover the sum total of:
For injury victims who choose to use their health insurance to pay for medical treatment following an injury (which is a choice they do not necessarily have to make), it is important to account for the money the injury victim’s health insurance company has spent on their medical care before settling their claim with the liability insurance companies (i.e. an at-fault driver’s insurance). Because most health insurance companies have the right to get paid back from any money the victim collects from the liability insurance company (through a process called subrogation), failing to account for that money when resolving a case can have very negative consequences for the injury victim, including cancellation of their health insurance.
A personal injury victim can also seek compensation for medical bills the victim will likely pay or incur in the future. Proving future medical costs can be extremely challenging, and failure to do so properly can cost the injury victim a substantial amount of money. It is not sufficient for a personal injury victim to simply voice concerns about their future medical needs. Instead, the law demands the victim prove the future costs through competent evidence. Generally, this requires an expert in the relevant field of medicine show what medical care will likely result because of the injury, as well as the likely cost of the future care. In addition, in cases involving serious injury (such as brain injuries, spine injuries, or catastrophic injuries), the injury victim can benefit from a life care plan, which consists of a thorough analysis by a certified life care planner of all aspects of the victim’s likely future medical needs. Speaking with an attorney about your future medical concerns can help make sure you do not get taken advantage of by an insurance company, and can help ensure you can afford to pay for your future medical care. This is true even for injuries the victim might consider minor; it is better to be safe than sorry.
A special message to the friends and potential new clients of FVF Law:
FVF’s client contract has, for a long time, contained the following termination clause: “FVF Law is a values-driven law firm, and because diversity is a value we support, “good cause” [for termination] shall include any expression by the client of intolerance with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.”
Now more than ever, FVF recognizes the global need to combat racism proactively, and to do so with more than just words. This firm was built on the mission of being better. Better lawyers. Better advocates. Better people.
We all know being better requires an ongoing commitment to learning, growth, introspection, and change. We enthusiastically embrace that commitment and hereby pledge to do more than just talk about it. Stay tuned on our blog and facebook page for more about what FVF is doing to back this important global effort.
In the meantime, we would respectfully request new clients who find their own views incompatible with this pledge to consider contacting another firm to handle their case. In any case, we invite you to provide honest feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Josh and Aaron, and all of FVF Law