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What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?

What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?

What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?

The losses arising from an accident can be immense. They can be infuriating when your losses arise from someone else’s misconduct. In a perfect world, you’d never have to pay a dime out of your own pocket to cover these expenses. In the real world, however, you often do.

“Out-of-pocket expenses” are economic damages you may incur after an accident for losses stemming from your injuries, property damage, and more. You can typically recover them in a personal injury case as long as they’re reasonable.

Examples of Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Examples of Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Following are some typical examples of personal injury expenses that you might have to pay upfront or that come due before you receive a settlement or verdict.

Medical Expenses

Even if your health insurance covers your medical expenses, you might still have to pay copays or deductibles. These items qualify as out-of-pocket expenses. If you don’t have insurance that will pay your medical bills when they come due, you might have to pay them out of your own pocket and wait for reimbursement from the defendant or their insurance company.

Eligible expenses might include:

  • Ambulance services
  • Doctor bills
  • Hospital bills
  • Lab fees
  • Occupational therapy expenses
  • Pain treatment
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
  • Surgery expenses
  • Medical equipment
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medicine
  • Bandages, band-aids, alcohol swabs, and similar items

This is not an exhaustive list. Which expenses are eligible for compensation depends on the specific facts of your case.

Child Care

If you have small children, you might find yourself unable to attend to their needs while you are recovering from your injuries. This state of affairs will necessitate child care, perhaps 24/7 – and child care is not cheap.


Pushing a mop across a kitchen floor can be difficult or impossible if you are injured. Having someone else do it usually costs money, for which you deserve reimbursement.

Personal Care

Can you feed, bathe and dress yourself? Some people can’t for a while after an accident, and some of these people have nobody to take care of them. You may be able to seek these costs in a personal injury claim.

Modifications To Your Home or Vehicle

If you suffered a serious or permanent injury, you might need modifications to your home or vehicle. For example, you might need an elevator or wheelchair ramp installed in your home.

Nursing Care

Do you need home medical care? Alternatively, do you need to spend time in a nursing home or treatment center? This can get very expensive.

Vehicle Removal and Storage

If you could not drive your car home from the accident, it was likely towed and stored. Both of these services cost money.

Travel Expenses

If your car was totaled or needs expensive repairs, you might need to rent a car. You might also need mileage reimbursement for the distance you travel. Alternatively, you might need to spend money on Uber or take a flight to a hospital in a large city. If you need to spend the night out of town for medical treatment, you will have to pay for parking and accommodation.

Miscellaneous Out-of-Pocket Expenses

It is impossible to list every possible out-of-pocket expense you might incur as a result of your accident.

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The “Reasonable and Necessary” Limitation

The phrase “reasonable and necessary” may come to haunt you during settlement negotiations. All of your out-of-pocket expenses must be reasonable and necessary to qualify for reimbursement.

You can stay at a roadside motel for out-of-town medical treatment, but you can’t stay at an expensive hotel, for example. The insurance company will keep chipping away at your claim using the “reasonable and necessary” limitation for as long as you let them.

To recover your out-of-pocket costs, you need to prove:

  • The amount you are asking for is reasonable compared to comparable services offered by competitors.
  • Your treatment was a necessary consequence of your accident. For example, you can’t demand reimbursement for the treatment of a 10-year-old back injury.
  • Any medical treatment you received was medically necessary. You might need testimony or a written statement from your healthcare provider to establish this.

Keep all receipts, invoices, etc. to prove the amount of your out-of-pocket expenses.

When Do I Get Compensated for My Out-of-Pocket Expenses?

Typically, you will need to wait until your doctor declares that you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) before settlement negotiations even begin. Settlement negotiations typically take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete.

In some cases, you might need mediation to reach a settlement. Although a trial could delay your reimbursement for much longer, relatively few personal injury cases go to trial. Most personal injury claims are resolved in less than a year after the accident. Some settle much sooner.

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An Austin Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Seek Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Other Damages

Texas personal injury law allows you to seek compensation for items that you might not even realize are reimbursable. Out-of-pocket expenses can be particularly difficult to receive from an insurance company unless you are represented by a skilled Austin personal injury attorney.

Since you are under no obligation to hire the lawyer after a free initial consultation, you have nothing to lose but a few minutes of your time, contact our FVF Law personal injury attorneys at (512) 982-9328.

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