Out-of-Pocket Expenses in a Houston Personal Injury Case
Out-of-pocket expenses are a type of damages awarded in a personal injury case. They are part of your economic damages but do not fall into one of the other categories, such as medical bills or lost wages.
Your out-of-pocket costs could total several hundred dollars or several thousand dollars. It depends on the facts of the case. These costs would not have been reimbursed by insurance or paid by health insurance plans.
Documenting the money you spend due to an injury or accident is essential if you want to recover these costs.
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What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
Your insurance company may pay some of your medical bills for the costs of services covered by your health plan. However, there could be some expenses that are not covered by health insurance.
Out-of-pockets expenses may relate to medical care, but are not necessarily considered a medical bill or a cost of treatment. The costs may relate to personal care or other expenses you would not have incurred had you not been injured.
It is best to err on the side of caution. Keep documentation of all expenses and costs you believe are related to your injury and accident, regardless of the amount of the expense. Make notes regarding why you incurred the expense to help justify including the expenses in the amount of your personal injury settlement.
What are Some Examples of Out-of-Pocket Expenses in a Personal Injury Case?
Out-of-pocket expenses are unique to your case. Your injuries and circumstances dictate the types of expenses and costs you incur because of an accident or injury.
However, some of the common out-of-pocket costs accident victims incur include:
Expenses Related to Your Injuries
In addition to medical bills, you likely have expenses related to your injuries that you paid as you incurred them. Examples of these expenses include:
- Over-the-counter medications
- Medical supplies, including bandages, wraps, gauze, etc.
- Prescription drugs
- The cost of traveling out of town for medical treatments
- The cost of affordable care for your children
- The cost of paying someone to help you with household chores and activities of daily living
In some cases, you may need special medical equipment that is not covered by health insurance. For example, you may need to purchase a bedside toilet or crutches. These expenses can be added to your out-of-pocket costs.
Expenses Incurred to Travel to Medical Appointments
You can seek reimbursement for the cost of going to and from doctor’s offices, physical therapy, and other medical appointments. If you drive your vehicle or someone drives your car, keep a detailed log of the mileage.
If you spend money on bus fare, taxi cabs, or rideshares, keep records of those expenses. You can also include parking fees in the total. If you need to rent a vehicle while the property damage to your vehicle is being repaired, that fee could be included in out-of-pocket expenses.
Modifications Due To Impairments
Some accident victims need to modify their homes or vehicles because of permanent impairments. For example, they may need to install a lift if they are paralyzed. Another modification may be a walk-in shower or shower bar.
These costs may be reimbursable as part of your personal injury settlement.
How To Prove Out-of-Pocket Expenses Were Necessary and Reasonable
The party who caused your injuries should be responsible for reimbursing you for your out-of-pocket expenses. However, you may need to justify these costs.
The insurance company for the at-fault party may argue that the costs you paid were unnecessary or unreasonable. Therefore, be prepared to justify your out-of-pocket costs.
Your doctor can provide a statement that he recommended specific over-the-counter medications. He could also explain how your injuries prevented you from taking care of your children or performing household chores.
A medical specialist may need to explain why your injuries require you to purchase medical equipment or modify your home or vehicle. For example, a back injury puts you at a higher risk of falling in the shower. Therefore, you need handrails installed to reduce that risk.
Additionally, you may need to prove that the costs were reasonable. For example, you may need quotes from several contractors to prove that the cost of installing a wheelchair ramp was reasonable. You may need to compare the cost of a bedside toilet or the cost of home health services.
A Houston personal injury lawyer will assist you with these steps. Gathering this information is one of the steps in preparing a settlement demand for the insurance company or valuing the damages you will seek in a personal injury lawsuit.
Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Were you injured in an accident or because of another party’s negligence? If so, you could be entitled to reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses and other damages.
Contact a Houston personal injury attorney to discuss your circumstances and determine your legal options.