Expenses and costs you incur after an accident or other personal injuries fall into the category of economic damages. Generally, the two largest categories of economic damages for a personal injury claim are medical bills and lost wages.
However, you may incur other expenses. Those costs are usually lumped together as your out-of-pocket expenses.
It is crucial that you keep track of your expenses and costs. Out-of-pocket expenses could total a few hundred dollars or they could total much more.
However, if you do not have proof of your financial losses, you cannot receive reimbursement for these costs in a personal injury case. Out-of-pocket expenses are one of the most overlooked and underpaid damages in personal injury cases.
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What Types of Costs Are Included in Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
Out-of-pocket expenses can include any costs you incur because of your injuries or recovery. The costs you incur depend on the severity of your injuries and the details of your recovery.
Each person may incur different expenses. Some common out-of-pocket expenses included in personal injury claims are:
Expenses You Incur Because of Your Injuries
Your medical bills may include bills from doctors, hospitals, therapists, and other medical providers. However, you could also incur other costs in addition to the costs of treatment. Examples of out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries include:
- The cost of nursing care
- Expenses for personal care and assistance with activities of daily living
- Over-the-counter medications
- Prescription drugs
- Reasonable fees for help with household chores
- The cost of affordable care for your children
- Medical devices, such as wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, canes, bedside toilets, etc.
- Cost of medical supplies, including bandages, gauze, Ace wraps, etc.
Make sure you keep proof of the cost of each expense and proof of your payment. It can also help to keep a ledge of the costs with dates, descriptions of items, costs, and payment.
Travel Expenses for Medical Care
You may receive reimbursement for mileage to and from medical appointments. However, you need to keep detailed records of your mileage, including dates, locations, reasons for travel, and exact mileage.
If you take public transportation, taxis, or rideshares, you can also include those expenses as travel costs. In addition, parking fees and renting a vehicle while your vehicle is repaired could be included in travel expenses.
You might need to travel out of town for medical care in some cases. If so, you can include the expenses for your travel, lodging, and meals while you are out of town.
Modifications to Homes and Vehicles
If you sustain permanent impairments or disabilities, the cost of necessary modifications to your home or car might be included in your damages. For example, if you need to add a ramp to the front of your home for wheelchair access, the cost could be included as damages.
You Must Prove Out-of-Pocket Costs Were Necessary and Reasonable
The insurance company may object to some of your out-of-pocket expenses. First, the company might question whether the cost was necessary. If so, you may need to provide medical evidence to combat that question.
A statement from your doctor might be sufficient for less expensive costs. In some cases, a medical expert might need to explain why more expensive costs were necessary. In addition, the medical professional must explain how your injury required you to incur the cost.
Second, the insurance company might question whether a cost was reasonable. For example, the insurance company might state that you paid too much for a wheelchair. You might need to provide evidence proving that the cost of the wheelchair was reasonable based on comparison prices.
What Evidence Do I Need for Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
Copies of bills and receipts providing the details of the expense need to be included with your settlement demand. For example, a detailed statement from your pharmacy might be sufficient to prove the cost of prescription medications. However, you might need a copy of each receipt for the over-the-counter medications you purchased.
If you paid someone to perform household chores, make sure you have an itemized bill from that person and a payment receipt. Keeping detailed records throughout your recovery can make it easier to prove the total amount of out-of-pocket expenses you claim for your personal injury case.
Your personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence and details to include in the claim. In addition, your attorney provides additional guidance about what costs to include and the documentation you need to keep for these expenses.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Our legal team works with you to document your damages. We fight to get you maximum compensation for all damages caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing. Call our law firm to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced attorney.