When you pursue a personal injury claim, you must document your economic damages. These losses usually fall into a few specific categories, like medical bills, property damage, and income losses. But many accident victims fail to include the reasonable and necessary out-of-pocket expenses associated with these losses.
These expenses could represent a significant share of your damages. For example, you could spend thousands of dollars above your medical bills to get medical treatment. Similarly, your injuries could force you to incur many costs beyond medical treatment, such as the cost of renting a wheelchair.
Out-of-pocket expenses are those that were caused by the accident that you must pay out of your income or savings. You must show that the expenses directly resulted from the effects of the accident. For example, the money you paid for crutches was a logical result of your slip and fall accident in a local restaurant.
Out-of-pocket expenses can take many forms. Often, lawyers will think about categories of economic losses when helping clients identify their out-of-pocket costs. These categories include:
Your personal injury compensation should cover all of your expenses for surgery, outpatient procedures, physical and mental health therapy, and medication.
It can also cover the necessary and reasonable out-of-pocket expenses you incur while seeking and receiving medical attention, such as:
If you do not live near a healthcare provider who can provide the prescribed medical care, your compensable medical expenses can cover your travel costs, including:
To get compensation for these expenses, you must show that they were reasonable and necessary. “Necessary” means that you needed them based on your doctor’s medical advice. “Reasonable” means you did not overpay for them.
Thus, if you live in a big city like Portland, traveling to Eugene for treatment might not be necessary or reasonable because you could have received the care you needed without traveling.
But suppose that you live in Eugene. You might need to see a specialist you can only find in Portland. In this example, travel might be reasonable and necessary.
One of the greatest inconveniences after a traffic crash is the loss of your vehicle. If you were injured in a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can pursue a claim for your property losses. This claim always includes the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle.
But it can also include the out-of-pocket expenses you incur, such as:
For example, suppose that you were in a car crash that totaled your $20,000 vehicle. You had a $5,000 deductible on your auto policy, so you only received a check from your insurer for $15,000. Additionally, you rented a car for two weeks for $600.
Your out-of-pocket expenses, in this case, are $5,600. You can add this to your claim against the at-fault driver.
Being disabled costs money. Even if you only suffer a temporary disability, you could incur expenses you would not normally have.
Some examples of disability expenses include your costs for:
Again, the compensability of these expenses will depend on the reasonableness of the expenditure. If you suffered a sprained knee with a six-week recovery time, installing an elevator in your house might be unreasonable. But it might be reasonable to install a wheelchair ramp leading to your front door.
Your injury might disable you from caring for your family. Your out-of-pocket expenses include the cost of replacing the services you provide to them.
Thus, you can include expenses for:
As you secure replacement services, keep in mind that your expenses must have resulted from your accident. If your children were in daycare before your injury, those expenses were not “caused” by the accident.
You will have a discussion with your Portland personal injury attorney about all of your financial losses from your accident.
To include the out-of-pocket expenses, you will need:
Your lawyer will use these documents to show the value and purpose of these expenses. These records will also help your lawyer overcome any argument that your out-of-pocket expenditures were unreasonable or unnecessary.
Contact a Portland personal injury lawyer to discuss your accident and how to obtain reimbursement for the out-of-pocket expenses it caused. Call Tillmann Law Personal Injury Lawyers at (503) 272-8986 today.