If you were injured in an accident, the amount of medical expenses — and the types of expenses — you incur can have a big impact on the settlement offer from an insurance company.
Medical bills, known in the insurance world as medical special damages, are part of the formula that insurance adjusters use to calculate your total damages. But that formula does not treat all medical expenses the same. There are a lot of variables in play when calculating medical special damages.
What are some of the more common types of medical expenses claimed in personal injury cases?
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy bills
- Other doctor bills
- Lab fees
- Pain management
- Cost of prescription medication.
What factors are considered when calculating medical damages?
- Diagnosis versus treatment: If a doctor runs up costly medical bills that consist mostly of diagnostic tests, it could affect the amount of money the insurance company offers in your settlement, especially if your injury didn’t end up needing much treatment. The insurance adjuster might use a lower multiplier when figuring out damages based on diagnostic tests.
- The kinds of doctors you see: Insurance companies tend to favor conventional medicine. Doctors, hospitals and medical clinics are more often viewed as legitimate claims, as opposed to physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists and other non-traditional forms of treatment. Even though these less conventional forms of medicine are often less expensive than hospitals or doctors’ offices, the insurance company will usually these types of treatment less weight, unless a doctor prescribed the treatment.
- How long it took to treat the injury: The amount of time you spent being treated for your injuries will play a role in the money offered by the insurance company. It’s a logical argument that the longer you spent being treated and healing from your injuries, the more pain and suffering you experienced. Pain and suffering is an added elements of damages on top of your medical bills. In evaluating your claim, Insurance adjusters take all of your medical bills, add them together, then multiply that number to come up with a number for your pain and suffering. But keep in mind that if the extended treatment was exclusively at a chiropractor’s office or something similar, insurance companies might be skeptical about the seriousness of your injury despite the effectiveness of the care you received with a chiropractor or physical therapist.
- Where you were treated: Even if your doctor prescribes physical therapy or other forms of treatment, if the treatment took place outside the traditional doctor’s office, an insurance adjuster might use a lower multiplier when calculating the damages. If you sought physical therapy or nontraditional care on your own without a doctor telling you to do so, you can expect the insurance company to try to discount that claim even more even though the care was effective.
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are always looking for ways to pay you the least amount of money possible. They are acting on their own behalf, not yours. That’s why it’s crucial you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to advocate for you and get the settlement you deserve.
If you have been in an accident that has affected aspects of your life and daily routine, take action and contact The Callahan Law Firm today for help.