If you’ve been injured in an auto accident or a slip-and-fall, you probably have medical bills piling up and sick days dwindling away. In a personal injury case, the party responsible for your injuries-the other driver, his or her insurance company or another entity-is responsible for reimbursing you for those expenses-and others.
Do you know what those expenses are?
If you don’t know all you’re entitled to, you may be losing out on valuable compensation for your injuries. Here are a few types of damages your lawyer may be able to argue for.
1. Health Insurance.
A personal injury damages award almost always includes the cost of medical treatment associated with the accident. That includes your ER or hospital stay, doctor bills, imaging, physical therapy and any future medical care. You can also argue for copays and any amount you paid out of pocket.
Most health insurance policies contain a reimbursement clause. For example, if an MRI cost $5,000 and your health insurance company paid $3,000, the health insurance company will later want reimbursed $3,000.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will negotiate with your health insurance company for a reduced rate, allowing you to keep more of your settlement award.
2. Lost income.
Did you miss a week of work because of your accident? You can argue for the salary you lost. If you used sick days or PTO, you can argue for reimbursement of that income also. You can also recoup lost commissions and company bonuses.
3. Loss of earning capacity.
If you were in between jobs at the time of an accident, you can argue for lost potential earnings. But for the accident, you may have been able to find a job.
If the injury left you disabled to the extent that you can’t perform your regular job at the same level, or not at all, you can argue for loss of earning capacity.
4. Sick leave.
As mentioned, if you used sick days, vacation days or PTO during and/or after an accident, you can you can collect payment for that time off work. You wouldn’t have used it if you hadn’t been injured, so you deserve to get compensated.
5. Mileage and transportation costs.
Gas isn’t cheap, and you may have burned a lot of it traveling to and from doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions. Keep track of your mileage so you can get reimbursed.
6. Home health care.
If you had to hire outside help to do the laundry, buy groceries or take care of other housework while you recuperated, those expenses are recoupable. You can also argue for the cost of a home healthcare aide who tended to your needs as you recovered.
These are only a few of the basic expenses, aka damages, you can demand in a personal injury case. To make sure you receive all the money you’re entitled to, work with a personal injury lawyer who knows everything that’s recoupable and who has experience negotiating with health and auto insurance companies.
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