By Rusty Galloway
People often ask me, how much is my case worth? I am compelled to tell them–“It depends.”
It depends on the injuries. It depends on how long it takes to get better. It depends on how much money is available to recover. It depends on many things, and the answer is not that simple, even to a seasoned lawyer. In the second installment of this three part series, we will cover the recovery of past and future Medical Bills after an accident.
When a person has been injured in an automobile crash, many times they must seek medical treatment to recover from the injuries they have received in the accident. The liability carrier of the “at fault” person is responsible for paying medical bills, up to the limits of their coverage. Many people in Louisiana only have the minimum limits of liability coverage, and that is why it is important to carry your own Uninsured/Underinsured (U.M.) coverage and also protect yourself with your own Health Insurance. That way if the “at fault” party does not have enough coverage to pay for your medical bills, you can file under your own U.M. Policy. If you purchased it, and may even use your own Health Insurance carrier to pay for your medical bills.
In a lawsuit, the past medical bills are easy to determine. Your attorney simply requests certified copies of all medical bills and records from your medical services providers. They then total them and send copies of the bills and records to the adjuster or attorney representing the Insurance Carrier. They are reviewed and simply paid for at the end of the matter.
Future medical bills are not so easy to determine. Those are determined by your treating physician who will write a narrative report. The report will outline a treatment plan that he deems to represent medical necessities into the future and those are presented to the other side. However, when a complicated or large case is being pursued, the Future medical bills are usually determined via a Life Care Planner who schedules a meeting with all treating physicians, and goes over future medical care. They discuss needs like future prescription medication, physical therapy for future break-through pain, additional diagnostic procedures (such as having an MRI scan every 5-7 years) and their opinion upon whether a future surgery will be necessary. The Life Care Planner then gathers the costs for all surgeries (physicians, facility, anesthesia, instrumentation) along with best estimates for future physical therapy and medication. These are all compiled into a report called a “Life Care Plan” and presented to the defense attorney/adjuster as part of your case.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident and aren’t sure where to turn, the attorneys at Galloway Jefcoat are here to help. We will be your biggest advocate and represent you with the dignity you deserve.
The circumstances of each case are different. Our firm cannot guarantee that in any situation, including the examples mentioned in this blog, are grounds for legal action until the circumstances surrounding that specific event have been reviewed by an attorney. To find out if an incident is grounds for a legal claim, please call us today at 337-326-5426 or contact our office for a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.