You will likely incur numerous losses and expenses if you are injured in a car accident or other incident. Losses can include non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and permanent impairments. Economic damages caused by a personal injury or accident can include property damages, medical bills, lost wages, and physical therapy.
A commonly overlooked economic damage accident victims incur is out-of-pocket expenses. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, these expenses could total thousands of dollars.
What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses in a Personal Injury Case?
Out-of-pocket expenses is a catchall category for any costs or expenses you incur because of an accident or injury. The costs must be reasonable and necessary. Insurance companies often dispute costs the injured victim submits to lower the value of the personal injury claim.
How To Prove Out-of-Pocket Expenses in Your Personal Injury Case
You should keep detailed records of any expenses or costs related to your injury or accident. For example, keep copies of invoices and receipts if you must pay someone to help you with household chores. Likewise, keep receipts for all over-the-counter medications you purchase.
Proving that the costs are necessary and reasonable could be more challenging. Ask your physician for a detailed statement explaining why your injury would require you to have help with household chores. For example, a back injury prevents you from lifting more than five pounds or stretching to clean the house.
If the insurance company challenges the amount of the expense, you might need to obtain comparisons to prove the amount is reasonable. For instance, you might need to show that two or three other providers would charge similar amounts to clean your home.
What Are Common Out-of-Pocket Expenses in a Personal Injury Case?
The type and severity of your injuries often dictate the out-of-pocket expenses you might incur after an accident or other personal injury. Examples of out-of-pocket expenses include:
Expenses Related to Your Injury
In addition to your medical bills, you may incur expenses including:
- Prescription medications
- Medical supplies, including bandages, alcohol swabs, etc.
- Over-the-counter drugs
- Medical equipment, including wheelchairs, crutches, bedside toilets, slings, hospital beds, etc.
- Personal care for assistance with activities of daily living, including bathing, feeding, dressing, etc.
Some of the expenses might be related to permanent injuries. When you have a permanent injury, you might need expert witnesses to prove that the costs are necessary and reasonable—for example, opinions from medical specialists and estimates from financial professionals and economists.
You can also seek reimbursement for the cost of traveling to and from medical appointments and therapy sessions.
Examples of transportation costs might include:
- Mileage (the IRS guidelines for mileage reimbursement is a good source)
- Cost of bus fares, rideshare fees, taxis, and other public transportation
- Parking expenses and fees
If your injuries require receiving treatment out-of-town, you might also receive compensation for hotel expenses and food. Out-of-town treatment is rare, but it might be necessary for catastrophic injuries when local medical facilities do not have the staff or equipment to provide the needed care.
Who is Responsible for Reimbursing Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
Texas is an at-fault state for personal injuries and accidents. Therefore, if you prove that the other party caused your injuries, that party should be liable for your damages. If the person has insurance coverage, the insurance company should reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses as part of the personal injury claim.
You have the burden of proving that the other party caused your injury. Most injury cases require proving negligence.
The legal elements of negligence are:
- Legal duty of care
- Breach of duty
If an insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement amount, your Fort Worth injury lawyer will discuss the pros and cons of filing a personal injury lawsuit.
The insurance company might allege one or more defenses to the personal injury claim.
For example, the insurance company might argue that you failed to mitigate damages. Mitigating damages requires an accident victim to take reasonable steps to reduce expenses and damages. Delays in medical care are often used to support allegations of failure to mitigate damages.
Another defense the insurance company might use is comparative fault. The Texas proportionate responsibility statute reduces the compensation you receive by your level of fault for the cause of your injury. Therefore, if you are partially to blame for causing your injury, you might not receive full compensation for damages.
Insurance adjusters often use an injured party’s statements to allege contributory negligence. Talking with a personal injury lawyer before you speak to a claims adjuster is wise. Never agree to provide a written or recorded statement without a lawyer’s advice.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Dallas-Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Valuing Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses
A legal team will work to get you the compensation you deserve for all damages, including your out-of-pocket costs. Contact Anderson Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation with an experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorney, if you’re dealing with medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses after an accident.