You will face obstacles and losses after suffering an injury. Some of these losses come with a price tag. Your medical bills and income losses affect your bank balance. Other losses come with a human cost. The pain and mental anguish you suffer will rob you of sleep and prevent you from enjoying your life.
Out-of-pocket expenses are a form of economic loss. These losses represent the amounts you paid related to your injury. As a result, you cannot use the money you spend on out-of-pocket expenses for essentials like food and rent. Recovering reimbursement for these expenditures becomes essential to your financial stability.
An expense must have occurred in the past to qualify as out-of-pocket. This might seem elementary, but your economic losses cover both past and future damages. For example, suppose your doctor testifies you will need surgery on your leg after your arm heals from your pedestrian accident. In that case, your economic losses include what you will pay for your leg surgery.
Out-of-pocket expenses do not include future expenses. They only include expenses you have already incurred.
The purpose of tracking out-of-pocket expenses is to seek reimbursement for them. It stands to reason that you can only get reimbursed for costs that you actually paid. You might incur several types of financial obligations after an injury.
Some of the types of obligations that would not qualify as out-of-pocket expenses include:
- Unpaid bills
- Hospital liens for emergency care
- Medical bills paid by your health insurance
Paid expenses may still qualify as economic losses that you can pursue in your injury claim. But they would not qualify as out-of-pocket expenses since you did not pay them.
Losses Caused By the Other Party’s Actions
Only losses caused by the other party’s actions qualify as out-of-pocket expenses. Suppose that you paid to replace your eyeglasses that were broken during a car accident. This loss would qualify as an out-of-pocket expense. But if you left your glasses in the Uber vehicle you rode home in after the crash, the amount you paid for glasses would not qualify as an out-of-pocket expense.
Reasonable and Necessary
Your losses must be reasonable and necessary to seek reimbursement. Reasonable means you did not overpay for the expense and that a reasonable person would agree that you paid a fair amount.
Thus, you could reasonably pay for a rental SUV after your SUV was destroyed in a truck accident. But you might have difficulty explaining how renting an expensive sports car was reasonable.
Necessary means that the expense flowed naturally and foreseeably from the crash. Often, the best way to prove necessity is by getting a doctor’s recommendation. For example, you can justify the amount you spent on wheelchair ramps in your home by showing the doctor recommended them.
Examples of Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Out-of-pocket expenses can take many forms, including:
The amounts you spend to obtain or pursue medical treatment or therapy will qualify as out-of-pocket expenses.
Examples of medical costs include:
- Health insurance deductibles
- Health insurance copays
- First aid supplies
- Over-the-counter medications
- Durable medical equipment
- Travel expenses if you cannot get medical care nearby
These expenses must meet the reasonable and necessary test. Thus, amounts paid for plastic surgery might not qualify as reasonable or necessary unless your injury disfigured you.
After your accident, you might be unable to perform your household tasks or other family responsibilities.
Some examples of replacement services that might qualify as out-of-pocket expenses include:
- Transportation, such as taxi or rideshare fares
Replacement services must not only relate to the injuries you suffered. They must also fall within the period you suffer a disability. You might justify taking rideshares while your broken leg is in a cast. But once the cast is off, you will need a new explanation for your rideshare expenses.
You may need to modify your home to accommodate your disabilities after an injury.
Examples of home modifications include:
- Wheelchair ramps
- Bathroom grab bars
- Lowered countertops
The reasonableness of these modifications will depend on the severity of your disability. Paying to install wheelchair ramps might not be reasonable if you have a sprained ankle. But it may be reasonable after an amputated leg.
The Role of a Bedford Personal Injury Lawyer in Recovering Out-of-Pocket Expenses
Your lawyer will walk you through the process of documenting your out-of-pocket expenses. In most cases, you must maintain financial records like credit card statements, receipts, and checks. You may also need medical records to support your argument that the expenses were necessary based on your injuries.
These expenses could amount to thousands of dollars in losses. Contact a lawyer or call Parker Law Firm Injury Lawyers at (817) 839-3143 to discuss your out-of-pocket expenses and the reimbursement process.