What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
When you suffer an injury, you deserve compensation for your damages from the at-fault party. However, even if you eventually win your claim, you might not be able to pay your debts as they come due.
Some expenses might come out of your pocket until your compensation arrives to reimburse you.
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Examples of Out-of-Pocket Expenses in a Personal Injury Claim
Following are some examples of typical out-of-pocket expenses that personal injury victims pay.
Your medical bills could easily amount to the vast majority of your out-of-pocket expenses.
These might include, among other expenses:
- Hospital bills
- Ambulance services
- Surgery expenses
- Lab fees
- Family doctor bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Occupational therapy expenses
- Pain treatment
- Other items
Speak with your personal injury lawyer about helping you negotiate a medical lien with your healthcare provider. Under a medical lien, your healthcare provider would hold an interest in your eventual personal injury compensation that is equal to the amount of your outstanding medical bills. If your healthcare provider is willing to rely on a medical lien, their bills will be deducted from your awarded compensation before you receive any of the money.
Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications
If you are lucky, your existing insurance might cover your prescription medication, leaving you with only co-pay expenses. You might also need to purchase over-the-counter medicines.
At-Home Medical Supplies
You might need to purchase medical supplies for use at home – such as gauze, ointments, disinfectants, etc. These expenses are usually minor, but they add up over time.
If your injuries were serious, you might need medical equipment in your home – wheelchairs, ramps, dialysis equipment, etc., depending on the nature of your injuries.
You will have to pay any insurance deductible out of your own pocket, including both health insurance and property insurance deductibles. This could amount to hundreds of dollars.
If you have small children and you spend time in the hospital, you will probably need to pay childcare expenses. You might have to continue paying these expenses even after you leave the hospital if your recovery requires time convalescing at home.
House Cleaning Services
If your injuries prevent you from cleaning your home and there is nobody around to do it, you will need to pay for these services.
If you are disabled, you might need to hire someone to help bathe, dress, cook for you, etc. This can cost a lot of money.
Towing and Storing Your Vehicle
If your claim arose from a car accident, your vehicle may be heavily damaged or even totaled. If your car is too damaged to drive, the police probably towed it to a garage so that it would not obstruct traffic or cause another accident. If your car was not totaled, you will need to pay for repairs.
Since the insurance company that covers your vehicle might need to examine the damage your vehicle sustained, you might need to keep your car in storage for a while. This is going to cost money.
Mileage, Gas, Transportation, and Accommodations
You might have to travel out of town for medical treatment or diagnosis. If your car was totaled, you might lack reliable transportation. You might need to take public transportation, a taxi, or a rideshare vehicle. You might need to rent a car. Even if you use your own car, you will have to pay for fuel and perhaps parking. If you stay in another city overnight, you might need hotel accommodation.
All of this will cost money, and it will likely come out of your pocket.
Are Your Expenses “Reasonable and Necessary”?
All of your expenses must be “reasonable and necessary” to qualify for reimbursement. For example, if you must take an overnight trip to an out-of-town hospital, you cannot obtain reimbursement for the Presidential Suite at the Hilton. You can expect the insurance company to question many of your out-of-pocket expenses, and you must prepare to prove they are legitimate.
Proving Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses
In a personal injury case, all that matters is what you can prove.
Since proof requires evidence, follow these tips to preserve evidence for your expenses:
- Dedicate a file to evidence, and keep every document you receive, from medical bills to pharmacy receipts.
- Photograph anything you need to support your claim-–your injuries, damage to your car, etc.
- Pay by credit or debit card instead of cash. This will make it easier to prove your expenses.
Assume that the opposing party will challenge every single expense you incurred.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Calculate Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Other Losses
It’s not just that a personal injury lawyer can help you win your claim. That is important, but it’s not enough. You deserve more than victory–you deserve the full value of your claim. Without a lawyer, you will not even be certain how much your claim is worth. If you need legal help, contact or call Allen Law Firm, P.A. at (877) 255-3652 today.