Will Medical Treatment Increase the Value of a Personal Injury Settlement in Florida?
Insurance settlement amounts after a personal injury depend largely on your medical bills. Predicting how the insurance company will evaluate your claim takes an understanding of how insurance claims work in Florida.
One of the key pieces of many settlement offers is a type of recovery called “medical special damages.” In essence, this recovery refers to the amount you’ve spent on accident-related medical bills during injury diagnosis and treatment. As a car accident victim, more medical treatments can mean a greater compensation award. We can also consider how medical treatment might affect non-economic damages and negotiate for a higher settlement, especially if treatment is painful or traumatic. There are also collateral expenses around treatment, such as the costs of transportation to medical appointments and in-home care. When using medical treatment to increase a potential settlement, it is crucial that we have thorough and accurate records of all treatment you received and the costs.
When negotiating a settlement, our Florida personal injury attorneys can use your medical treatment costs to hopefully get a larger settlement. For a free case review, call The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 866-1750.
How Insurers Calculate Medical Awards After an Accident in Florida
A lot goes into evaluating an insurance claim. It takes much more than just compiling your medical bills and receipts to understand the full value of your claim. After most accidents, an insurance claim requires a complete investigation. Police reports, medical records, photographic evidence, eyewitness statements, accident reconstruction, and expert testimony may all go into understanding the incident, how it happened, and who is responsible. Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, the victim’s own insurance company often conducts the investigation.
Your conversations with insurance claims adjusters can also change how much the company offers in a settlement. It’s important not to agree to release your medical records to the other driver’s insurance company or to say yes to a recorded statement. These actions can work against you and result in a smaller settlement – or no settlement offer at all. If you speak to an adjuster, stick only to the bare facts of the case. An attorney can help you protect your rights during conversations with insurance agents if necessary.
Once the insurance company has conducted an investigation, assessed all available information, and spoken to the parties involved, it will come up with an initial settlement offer. The offer will generally include enough to cover all accident-related medical expenses and future expected costs of the injury. Too often, first offers from insurance companies are less than what your medical treatments are actually worth. It often takes a bit of negotiating to increase the value of your settlement to match your medical treatments. Don’t let an insurance agent pressure you into saying yes. Take your time, weigh your options, and discuss your case with an attorney.
Types of Medical Treatments an Insurance Company Will Cover
One way to maximize your insurance settlement is to know which medical treatments the insurance company will and will not compensate. The more medical treatment you receive, the greater your settlement. To insurance adjusters, however, not all types of medical care are equal. The type of care and duration of treatment can affect how much the company offers as reimbursement.
For example, insurance companies often differentiate between diagnosis and treatment in terms of pain and suffering damages. Injuries that require weeks of tests and exams to diagnose, but little treatment, might receive lower settlements since the insurance company doesn’t take the weeks of diagnostic procedures into account. The insurance industry also tends to place greater value on mainstream medical care. This means if you choose to receive alternative care, such as homeopathic remedies, you may receive lower settlement multipliers from insurers.
Physical therapy is another type of treatment that insurance companies tend to undervalue compared to other types of medical care. While longer treatment schedules typically result in greater settlement amounts, this might not be the case if your treatment takes the form of physical therapy or chiropractic care. Working with an insurance company on a settlement award is no small feat. Always seek help from an attorney if you want to maximize the value of your settlement for medical treatments.
How Long-term Medical Treatment Might Affect Damages in a Florida Personal Injury Settlement
Medical treatment does not always have a definite end period. In many cases, medical treatment goes on for a very long time, sometimes indefinitely or even for life. This can put personal injury plaintiffs in a tough position when assessing damages. While we might be able to calculate the costs of the treatment you have received thus far, that does not account for the cost of future treatment and care.
Our Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers can help you claim the value of future medical care and use these calculations to negotiate for a higher settlement agreement. Future care is not unusual in cases of severe injuries. For example, plaintiffs that experience particularly complicated injuries might need a combination of care over an extended time. Surgery followed by physical therapy, more surgery, and pain management care could cost you a lot of money over a longer period.
The key to calculating future medical costs and using them to negotiate a higher settlement is the costs should be reasonably anticipated. Figuring out what kind of future treatment can reasonably be expected might require evaluation and testimony from a doctor. Essentially, we can factor the cost of future surgery, for example, into your settlement if future surgery is likely. You could not claim such an expense if surgery is an unreasonable treatment for your injuries and should not be expected.
Adding reasonably anticipated future medical costs to your settlement negotiations is important to consider if you experienced permanent injuries or injuries that resulted in a disability. Often, the long-term consequences of certain injuries come with long-term care. Even the cost of future prescriptions should be considered.
Non-Economic Damages Related to Medical Treatment in Personal Injury Settlements in Florida
Medical treatment is often physically painful and emotionally traumatic. Even if your medical care does not cost a lot of money, it might take a serious toll on your body and mind. As such, your medical treatment might be a factor in calculations for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Adding these damages to your settlement negotiations might help our Miami personal injury lawyers get you a better deal.
Non-economic damages encompass negative personal experiences associated with your accident and injuries. Common examples include physical pain, emotional trauma, humiliation, and more. In some cases, medical treatment is necessary but uncomfortable or painful. Painful treatments might lead to greater non-economic injuries for pain and suffering.
For example, if you are injured in a car accident, you might need a very serious and invasive surgery as part of your treatment. The surgery itself is likely to come with intense physical pain, and the road to recovery might be long and just as painful. Not only that, but enduring such treatments often takes a psychological toll on patients, and non-economic damages for emotional trauma and anguish should also be considered.
Calculating Collateral Expenses Related to Medical Treatment in Florida Personal Injury Settlements
While medical care can be expensive on its own, there are often numerous other expenses that surround it. The collateral costs of receiving medical treatment for injuries can be significant. These costs should also be considered when our Boca Raton personal injury lawyers negotiate a settlement agreement in your case.
Collateral costs of medical care might include numerous other expenses you incur because of treatment. For example, injured plaintiffs living in rural areas might incur significant travel expenses to get to the nearest hospital. Travel costs can also be very high if you need to travel to a specialist.
Many injured plaintiffs encounter high bills for in-home care after they get treatment. For example, if you cannot leave your bed while you recover from your injuries and subsequent medical treatment, you might have to hire someone to help you with ordinary daily tasks. Exactly what these costs are depends on your situation, but they might include cleaners, home health aides, and someone to help prepare meals. To recover these expenses, we will need to show they were necessary for your medical treatment and recovery. For example, a plaintiff bedbound by doctor’s orders might claim these expenses.
How to Use Medical Expenses to Negotiate a Higher Personal Injury Settlement in Florida
Your medical expenses and the various costs adjacent to your treatment can and should be used to negotiate a higher settlement agreement. Doing so requires various pieces of evidence in order to convince the defendant to settle. Our Florida personal injury attorneys can help you gather the necessary evidence to reach a good settlement for your injuries.
First, we must make sure that you have thorough and accurate medical records. These records are likely going to be key evidence in your case. Your records should have information about the extent of your injuries and the treatments you received. If necessary, we can have your record reviewed by medical experts who can back up your claims for damages. You should also try to keep itemized bills from the various treatments. This includes hospital bills, travel, lodging, and other costs necessary for your treatment.
Non-economic damages related to your medical treatment (e.g., pain and suffering) are harder to evaluate because they are more subjective and not directly related to a cost or price. Often, these damages sort of flow naturally from the injuries. For example, physical pain and emotional trauma might flow naturally from invasive surgeries but not as much from more minor treatments. Even if we cannot place an exact value on these damages, we can at least use them as leverage to increase your settlement.
Call Our Florida Personal Injury Attorneys for a Free Evaluation of Your Case
Medical treatment often raises the value of a settlement because treatment tends to be very expensive for plaintiffs. Our Flordia personal injury lawyers can help you determine the extent of your medical costs and hopefully negotiate the best settlement possible. For a free case assessment, call The Law Offices of David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A. at (954) 866-1750.