Does Your Settlement Cover Future Medical Costs? | Kisling, Nestico & Redick
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A personal injury claim aims to make you "whole" again, as if the accident never occurred. This includes paying for current medical bills and projected medical needs.
Written by
KNR Legal
Date posted
September 6, 2023

Accidents like car crashes can change lives in seconds. When another’s negligence injures you or a loved one, your immediate concern is generally for the safety of all involved. But other problems will eventually manifest in the days, weeks, and months afterward.

It’s expensive to treat injuries. Medical care is a heavy burden. After all, it may cost a few thousand dollars to treat a broken wrist, but you may need an operation eventually. Who will pay for it?

As Ohio personal injury lawyers, KNR has witnessed countless victims grapple with medical bills due to inadequate settlements. Let’s explore the key elements to cover future medical expenses.

Who’s Responsible for Ongoing Medical Care?

A personal injury claim aims to make you “whole” again, as if the accident never occurred. This includes paying for current medical bills and projected medical needs.

You could be compensated for future surgery caused by the injuries you receive in a car crash. Your settlement should also cover any necessary treatments to adjust to your injuries. That includes therapies or mobility equipment that allows you to adjust to life with a disability. Your settlement should also cover your prescriptions.

Medical settlements should cover many items, including but not limited to:

  • Follow-up doctor visits
  • Home care
  • Vocational Rehab
  • Home or vehicle modifications
  • Lifelong care

As the victim, you should not bear the financial obligation for these costs. The compensation for future needs, treatments, or care should come from the at-fault party or their insurance. But you can’t count on sending a bill for expenses you incur later.

Injury Settlements Should Cover Everything

Once a personal injury or car accident insurance settlement is accepted and finalized, the victim typically cannot go back and ask for more, even if the medical needs are greater than anticipated. This highlights the importance of accurately estimating future costs and ensuring that any settlement offer accounts for long-term needs.

Address Your Long-Term Needs for Max Compensation

Navigating your long-term health requirements can be daunting, especially when you’re bombarded with medical jargon, insurance stipulations, mounting bills, and unpredictable health challenges. It’s hard to confidently predict the full implication of treating a bulging disc after a car accident, let alone something more severe like a traumatic brain injury.

However, you’ll need a thorough understanding of your condition, treatment plan, and ongoing care to negotiate and recover a fair and full insurance settlement.

Get Immediate & Proper Medical Care

Consider you were involved in a fender-bender. You felt no pain and declined medical attention at the scene, but you started experiencing intense back pain weeks later. An MRI revealed a herniated disc requiring surgery and long-term physical therapy.

Had you sought medical care immediately, your injury would have likely been identified and linked to the accident. But without a clear tie to the accident, confirming liability for ongoing treatment becomes harder.

Consult Specialists

In addition to your primary doctor, consider speaking to specialists like orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, or physical therapists. In severe cases, you may need a life care planner to help project long-term medical needs and associated costs, especially for chronic or permanent injuries. These professionals can provide expert opinions on long-term effects and anticipated treatment.

Stay Committed to Treatment

Consistency in treatment is also vital. Stopping treatments prematurely or ignoring doctor orders can be perceived as “feeling better” by insurance companies. Therefore, complete recommended treatments to ensure your injuries are fully addressed and documented.

Communicate About Your Care

When you’re injured, focusing on the day-to-day when you’re recuperating is natural. But when facing extended care, effective communication with your loved ones and medical professionals is paramount.

When discussing your condition and evaluating what you require in terms of compensation, consider the following:

Do You Have a Clear Diagnosis?

You should understand the nature of your injury, limitations, potential complications, and the trajectory of your recovery.

What’s Your Treatment Plan?

Discuss the various treatment options, benefits, drawbacks, expected duration, and probable outcomes. Also, contact your doctor or specialist to assess how the condition progresses and whether treatment plans need adjustments.

Do You Need Rehab & Physical Therapy?

These are standard for many injuries. Others may benefit from follow-up chiropractic care. But depending on the severity, you might need supplementary sessions spanning months or even years.

Will You Need Future Surgeries?

Everyone’s body responds to treatment and heals differently, but surgery may be vital to getting better. Some injuries, like spinal cord trauma, may require multiple surgeries to stabilize the area or improve functionality. Additionally, other surgeries can be planned for when they become necessary or more feasible.

Are Lifelong Medication Necessary?

Chronic pain or conditions arising from severe accidents may necessitate medications indefinitely. Factoring in these lifelong costs is essential and a routinely overlooked expense.

Document Everything

Ensure that every doctor, physical therapist, or medical professional you visit keeps detailed records of your injuries, treatments, and prognosis. This includes receipts for prescriptions, medical equipment, travel expenses for treatment, and other related expenditures. These will be crucial pieces of evidence when claiming future medical expenses.

Get Full Value for Your Injuries – Now & In the Future

This list of considerations is not comprehensive and does not cover other out-of-pocket damages related to your ongoing medical care. You might have transportation costs, home modifications, or other accommodations. You should ultimately work with an experienced car accident attorney to create an exhaustive assessment of what you spent and will spend due to your injuries.

An attorney with a personal injury law background can help navigate your case’s complexities, coordinate with your doctors and other experts, and negotiate with the insurance company so you get a settlement that adequately covers your current and future medical costs.

The benefits of working with a lawyer include:

  • Evaluate the actual value of your claim, considering all current and forthcoming medical costs.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies, who often try to minimize payouts and diminish injuries.
  • Advise on structured settlements, ensuring consistent income for prolonged medical expenses.
  • Avoid early and lowball offers designed to make your claim go away quickly.

Let KNR Help Recover Everything

The ripple effects of a serious injury can be felt for years, even a lifetime. By seeking immediate medical care, adhering to treatments, evaluating potential long-term medical needs, and securing a knowledgeable lawyer, you can ensure your physical recovery and safeguard against financial hardship due to future medical expenses.

Kisling, Nestico & Redick has been helping people through the insurance process and securing maximum compensation for over 15 years. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW or submit a request for a free, no-risk consultation.