Out-of-pocket expenses are economic damages you incur because of an accident or other personal injury. Economic damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Unfortunately, this category of damages is often overlooked and undervalued.
Documenting your out-of-pocket expenses is crucial because they could total thousands of dollars. You are entitled to reimbursement for these expenses and compensation for other economic and non-economic damages if you can prove that another party’s actions caused you to incur them.
What Costs Are Included in Out-of-Pocket Expense Claims?
Any medical, travel or other expenses incurred because of your medical care or accident could be included in out-of-pocket expenses.
Some of the common types of out-of-pocket expenses included in personal injury claims are:
Medical bills are the most common type of economic damage related to your injuries. However, during your recovery, you’ll likely incur other expenses related to your injuries.
Those out-of-pocket expenses could include:
- The cost of prescription medications
- Expenses related to medical supplies, such as bandages
- The cost of over-the-counter medications
- The cost of medical equipment, including walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, bedside toilets, etc.
- Reasonable costs for childcare
- The cost of hiring someone to perform household chores and services
- Expenses related to personal care and assistance with activities of daily living, including eating, bathing, dressing, etc.
Keep copies of all bills, invoices, and receipts of payments for any expenses you incur after your accident or injury. To explain the receipts, you may also want to keep a written log of all expenses, including the date, amount, and description of each expense.
Travel Costs for Medical Appointments
Your injuries could prevent you from driving to and from doctors and other medical appointments. If so, the cost of travel is an out-of-pocket expense you can include in your settlement demand.
Travel costs may include:
- Bus fare
- Rideshare fees
- Parking fees
- Paying a friend to take you to medical appointments
- The cost of medical transportation
If you are required to travel to another town for medical treatment, you might need to stay overnight. The cost of lodging and food could be considered an out-of-pocket expense.
Expenses Related to Permanent Impairments and Disabilities
An accident could cause injuries that result in lifelong disabilities and impairments. If so, you might require special equipment and medical devices. For example, for an amputation, you might need a prosthetic device.
You might require modifications to your home or vehicle. For example, you may need to install a wheelchair ramp at your home or a lift for your vehicle. You can include these expenses in your out-of-pocket costs for future damages.
How Do You Prove You Are Entitled to Reimbursement for Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
The insurance company for the at-fault party will likely question each expense you claim. The goal is to lower the value of your damages so that the insurance company doesn’t have to pay you as much money to settle your claim.
Therefore, you may need to prove why the out-of-pocket expense was necessary.
Medical records and medical opinions are key pieces of evidence used to prove why expenses were necessary. Your doctor or a medical expert can provide detailed analysis and explanations justifying the need for specific expenses.
If the insurance company accepts that the expense was necessary, it might question whether the amount was reasonable. For example, the insurance company might deny a portion of the expense claiming that you overpaid for a service or item.
You might need to provide proof that the expense was reasonable. Price comparisons from other retailers can generally answer this question. You might also want to obtain several estimates for modifications or services to prove that you were diligent in your efforts to mitigate damages.
Finally, you need detailed records to prove you incurred out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, keep a record of each expense, including the bill or invoice for the item. Also, keep a receipt showing you paid for the service or item.
Contributory Fault and Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Allegations of contributory fault could reduce the amount of money you receive for out-of-pocket costs. If you are partially to blame for the cause of your injury, your compensation for damages can be reduced by your percentage of fault. You also cannot recover compensation under Florida law if you were mostly to blame.
Therefore, if you were 45% to blame for the cause of a car crash, you would only be entitled to 55% of your awarded compensation. And if you were 51% or more to blame instead, you could not receive any compensation. However, the at-fault party has the burden of proving that you were partially at fault for the cause of the accident.
Protect yourself from comparative fault claims by never accepting liability or admitting fault for an accident. Avoid talking to insurance adjusters without a lawyer. Instead, call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible for legal advice after an injury or accident.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer to Value Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses
You deserve compensation for all damages caused by negligence or intentional acts, including your out-of-pocket expenses. A Jacksonville personal injury attorney will fight to get you the maximum compensation for your personal injury case. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case review with an experienced accident attorney in Jacksonville, FL.