Sometimes folks get hurt so bad they need medical care for life or expect it in the future. But you can't just ask for it. You have to prove it. An accident injury lawyer tells how.

Note: future medical care in workers’ compensation (work injury) cases is covered elsewhere on this website.


Here's a question we get sometimes: “the doctor tells me I'm going to need medical care for the rest of my life, can I get money for future medical bills in my injury case?” The answer is yes if you. Present the evidence the right way and let me say this at the outset what we're talking about here is not a workers compensation case. The legal standard for that is different. What we're talking about here is like a truck and crash or medical malpractice and the way you can recover for future medical treatment in those kinds of cases is you've got to be able to prove they're reasonably certain to occur. So how do you do that?

Well, first we analyze your medical records to see what kind of treatment we expect you're going to need. Then we meet with your doctor because he's going to have to supply the testimony that you're going to reasonably need those services in the future. After that, we get a cost estimate for the amount of those services. If you've been especially seriously injured such as paralyzed or you're going to need multiple surgeries in the future, we might even hire an expert called a life care planner. Life care planners are typically folks who have some expertise and nursing in their background and they can develop a treatment plan that reflects the treatment you're going to need in the future, plus give a cost basis for it.

Now the last part of the puzzle, is this it's a little strange but it's the way the law works because it's the way life works. You can't get the future medical care dollar for dollar, and the reason for that is this. A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow because it's already in your hand, the law says the same thing. You have to reduce the amount of that award to reflect the fact you're going to get money for that treatment right then in your settlement or verdict. So, what we have to do is get an economist who can reduce the amount of the cost of your treatment to present value and in some cases may help us do a cost projection, in the future, for what your medical care is going to cost somewhere down the road.

So it's a complicated process but if you've been hurt that seriously, it's vital to be able to know what that amount is going to be and to be able to recover it for you. we know how to do it and we'd love to help you out, if it speaks to you. I thank you for thinking about this with me.

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.