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How Do Personal Injury Attorneys Calculate Future Medical Expenses in a Car Crash Settlement?

March 6, 2024
Car accidents

I’m working on a case right now for a young man who was tragically injured when a car made a left-hand turn in front of his motorcycle. Car accident cases can be complicated. But thanks to witnesses, we know that he was following all the rules on his motorcycle and had no time to react when the other driver pulled out in front of him.

Now, this young man is facing a lifetime of pain and medical treatment. So, my job is to make sure that he can afford to pay for that treatment as long as he needs it, which means I need to calculate his future medical expenses, then demand that amount in the settlement with the car driver’s insurance company. (I can also secure funds from his own insurance and his parents’ insurance, but that is a topic for another blog.)

People often ask how personal injury lawyers calculate future medical expenses for victims of car and motorcycle crashes. It’s not like there’s a computer program where I can enter a few numbers and get a result in seconds. Making sure my clients get everything they need for long-term medical care is one of the most important and complicated things that I do. This is another reason you need an experienced Denver personal injury attorney working for you, because I bring so much more knowledge to this process than they possibly can. But I digress.

Calculating future medical expenses in a car crash settlement involves a comprehensive evaluation of the victim’s current and future healthcare needs resulting from the accident. Here’s an overview of some of the ways I approach this task.

Assessing Medical Records and Expert Testimony

Medical records for a car accident case

The first step is perhaps the most obvious. I need to assess the victim’s current medical treatments and figure out what he or she will need to live a quality, productive life in the future. I have seen so many car crash victims that I have over two decades of experience doing this… and I even have relationships with past clients, so I can see how they are doing thanks to the settlements I secured for them. Even when victims are in the hardest part of healing and can’t imagine what their lives will be like next, I can. And I do everything in my power to make sure they are protected. This starts with medical records and expert testimony:

Current Medical Condition: Review of the injured person’s medical records to understand the extent of the injuries, the treatment received to date, and the current medical condition.

  • Expert Evaluation: Often, medical experts, such as doctors or specialists in rehabilitation, are consulted to provide a professional medical assessment of the injured person’s future needs. This may include ongoing treatments, surgeries, physical therapy, medication, and any other medical care deemed necessary.

Planning for Lifetime Care

In severe car accident cases, victims may be facing a lifetime of cascading care and treatments. As they age, how will the treatments change or intensify? How much human assistance will they need? Full-time or part-time? For these questions, I see help from a life care planner:

  • A life care planner or a medical professional may be involved in creating a comprehensive life care plan. This plan outlines all anticipated medical services, aids, and other healthcare needs over the individual’s lifetime, considering the injuries sustained.

Calculating Medical Costs in Motorcycle or Car Accident Cases

Personal injury lawyers help calculate medical expenses

Based on all of these factors, I can start calculating the costs of a victim’s long-term care. Again, though, this is not as straightforward as a Google search. (I mean, you know how the healthcare industry likes to hide its costs like a masterful shell game.) Here are a couple of the steps I take to estimate medical expenses in such motorcycle or car accident cases:

  • Current Costs: The costs of current medical needs are calculated based on actual bills and standard medical service rates.
  • Future Costs: Estimating future medical expenses involves considering the future care outlined in the life care plan, inflation rates, and changes in medical service costs over time.

Considering Other Factors

Now, because I’ve been doing this so long, I have seen life throw terrible curveballs at my former clients and I learn from their experiences. I use this lifetime of knowledge to help my current clients prepare for the unexpected by calculating the following:

  • The Unexpected: Factors such as the injured person’s age, life expectancy, pre-existing conditions, and the likelihood of emergency medical assistance due to complications are considered to adjust the cost estimation accurately.

Ensuring a Thorough Economic Analysis

Then, of course, there is this crazy world we live in. How could we have known that a pandemic would cause inflation like we hadn’t seen in decades? What would a car crash victim, living on a fixed income from a settlement, do in the face of such a crazy economy? I do all I can to make sure my clients have enough compensation to live a quality life, including economic calculations.

  • Economic experts might be engaged to factor in inflation, cost of living adjustments, and advancements in medical technology that could affect future medical expenses.

Negotiating With Insurance Companies for a Fair Settlement

A good personal injury lawyer negotiates with the car insurance company

Then the negotiations with the insurance companies begin. Again, this is where victims of catastrophic crashes absolutely need an experienced attorney fighting for their rights. Personal injury attorneys will argue for a comprehensive settlement covering all future medical needs, while insurance companies may seek to minimize their payout based on their own assessment and policies.

  • Willing to Go to Trial: Most crash victims don’t realize that very few personal injury lawyers know how to litigate a case in court because they most often settle before it ever reaches that stage. However, I have taken many cases to court and won because I know that insurance companies expect personal injury attorneys to settle, hoping to avoid a court case. I fight all the way for my clients. Make sure you hire an attorney with trial experience, especially if you’ve been catastrophically injured in a crash.

As you can see, calculating future medical expenses after a car crash is as much art as it is science. The process involves a combination of medical assessment, economic analysis, and legal negotiation, but it also demands experience and tenacity.

If you’ve been injured in a car crash and you’re concerned about your future medical expenses, call or text our personal injury law firm in Denver today (303-388-5304) for a free consultation. This decision is too important not to explore your options.

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