After a personal injury accident, medical bills can add up fast. As pain, treatment, and recovery continue, the victim may be looking forward to a long future of continued costs. Current and future medical bills may total only a few thousand dollars in a minor accident, or up to millions of dollars for a more serious injury. In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff may seek damages to cover the past medical bills, as well as future medical costs and expenses.
Types of Damages in a District of Columbia Personal Injury Case
After an accident, the person responsible is not likely to admit they are at fault. They are even less likely to open up their wallet to pay for your injuries. Instead, you will likely have to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to recover your damages. In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff will be seeking economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include lost wages and the costs of medical treatment and health care. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Past Medical Bills
Medical bills are considered economic damages. If the plaintiff suffers a relatively minor injury, they may still have incurred significant medical bills. A trip to the emergency room in an ambulance can easily result in medical bills over one thousand dollars. If an accident leads to a hospital stay, the bills can quickly increase. The possibility of surgery, specialist consultation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical devices, and prescription medications can leave the injured person with hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
In the best case scenario, the injured plaintiff is treated by healthcare professionals and able to return to their normal life. Even in this scenario, the plaintiff may have tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills that they need to be compensated for. In order to recover for past medical bills, the plaintiff will usually have to show that the medical treatment and bills are attributable to the accident and that they were reasonably necessary.
Future Medical Bills
In more serious injury cases, the plaintiff may not only have past medical expenses, but also may be required to undergo continuing medical care into the future. This could include short-term medical expenses, or lifelong medical treatment.
Compared to past medical bills, it may be more difficult to substantiate future medical bills. A plaintiff may not know exactly what kind of future medical treatment they will require, how long it will last, and if treatment options will change in the future. However, a defendant can be ordered to cover any related future medical expenses a plaintiff may incur.
The amount of future medical expenses is generally calculated through a combination of medical and economic expert reports. A medical expert will evaluate the type of injuries, cause of the injuries, permanency of the injuries, treatment options, and other factors. An economic expert will use statistics and formulas to calculate the likely costs of continuing medical care required to treat the plaintiff. Together, this will give the jury a picture of how much the plaintiff may be facing in future medical bills.
Damage Caps in Washington D.C.
There are no caps on economic damages in Washington D.C. There are also no statutory limits on non-economic damages. You should not have to pay for your past and future medical bills caused by someone else. It is your right to recover compensation for all of your medical expenses from the at-fault party, so you can focus on recovering and getting back to a normal life.
Medical Damages in a D.C. Personal Injury Case
Given the high cost of medical care in the United States, it is only fair that the person responsible for your accident be required to cover the costs of your past and future medical treatment. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident due to the negligent behavior of another, please do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.