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Proving Medical Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Recovering for Past and Future Medical Treatment after an Accident

Proving Medical Damages in a Personal Injury LawsuitWhen you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you have a right to seek reimbursement for any medical expenses not covered by insurance or otherwise paid, including both those already incurred and any you may need in the future as a result of your injuries. How do you prove to a judge and jury exactly what your unreimbursed medical bills have been and, more importantly, what projected medical expenses you can anticipate in the weeks, months and years ahead?

Establishing Past Medical Expenses

Proving past medical expenses is a pretty straightforward process. These types of damages, known as “economic” damages, are typically established through documentary evidence, such as medical bills or receipts for medication or other products needed to treat your injuries. Of course, you’ll have to introduce evidence demonstrating that the expenses were incurred because of the accident caused by the defendant’s negligence.

Establishing Projected Future Medical Costs

This is a far more complicated process, as you won’t have any documentary evidence at the time of trial (or settlement). Perhaps the most common way of introducing and establishing potential medical expenses is through medical testimony. That testimony may come from your primary care or personal physician, if the injuries you have suffered are the kind that he or she commonly treats.

If they are outside of your doctor’s area of specialty or practice, your attorney will often bring in an expert witness, someone with extensive knowledge of the long-term consequences of your injuries. As a general rule, your attorney will need to introduce evidence of the witness’s expertise, so that the court can qualify him or her as an expert.

There are two important things you need to remember about future medical expenses:

  • If you receive a lump sum settlement or verdict, the total amount will typically be discounted to the “present value” of all potential costs, assuming a certain interest rate
  • You won’t have to prove future medical expenses beyond a reasonable doubt—In a civil lawsuit, you only need to show that the losses you project are more likely than not to occur.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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