Often, accident victims find themselves blind-sided by the expenses they face after a truck accident. Even minor injuries can leave you out of work for weeks, while more serious injuries—including those often faced by truck accident victims—can force you to reshape your entire life. Fortunately, you do have some recourse to seek help paying the expenses associated with your accident. One important aspect of recovering the funds you need after your truck accident: a claim for damages against the party that caused your accident. Do you know what to include as you put together your claim? Read on to learn from the experienced truck accident attorneys at the Dolman Law Group.
When you start contemplating your truck accident claim, take a look at your medical expenses related to the accident. Many people do not realize how expensive even minor injuries can be. Even without surgery, for example, a single broken limb can cost an average of $2,500. More serious injuries come with more serious expenses. Consider:
- In the first year after a spinal cord injury, patients with tetraplegia may face costs totaling over $1 million. These costs do not end after the first year, either. Even patients who suffer only decreased motor function as a result of a spinal cord injury may face an average cost of $42,000 each year for medical care.
- Caring for a victim of traumatic brain injury can cost between $600,000 and more than $1,800,000 during that person’s lifetime. The cost of care for victims of traumatic brain injury may depend on the extent of the injury and whether the patient requires ongoing skilled care. Patients who suffer lifelong consequences from a traumatic brain injury usually face significantly higher costs than those who recover in time.
- The typical cost of a limb amputation ranges between $20,000 and $60,000. That cost represents the amputation alone, not physical therapy or other costs associated with recovery. A high-end prosthetic limb can cost as much as $40,000.
Calculating Medical Expenses After a Truck Accident
After a truck accident, you may face substantial medical expenses. Many patients find that bills add up fast. Some even forget relatively minor bills as they struggle to put together their claims. When you put together your truck accident claim, make sure you include all the relevant expenses associated with your accident. In some cases, laying them out in chronological order can make it easier to put everything together.
- Ambulance transport from the scene of the accident. In some cities, you may pay as much as $1,200 for ambulance transport, even if the paramedics deemed transport medically necessary at the scene. Any future ambulance rides—a transfer to another hospital, to a rehab facility, or to a long-term care facility, for example—may add to that cost.
- The ER bill. In the emergency room after your accident, you may have undergone several expensive tests and scans. Some patients may require emergency surgery to save their lives. Others may see multiple providers, depending on the severity and extent of their injuries.
- Durable medical equipment. Following a serious injury, you may need durable medical equipment to help restore your mobility or assist you with daily tasks. This might include a prosthesis after an amputation, a wheelchair, or crutches. Some people need specialized braces to help them get around after an accident.
- Hospitalization costs. On average, every day a patient spends in the hospital costs almost $4,000. Specialized equipment, a stay in the ICU, or the need for close supervision can all increase the cost of hospitalization.
- Surgical costs. Surgical costs can add to your medical bill substantially. Some truck accident victims may require one surgery. But amputation victims, for example, may have immediate surgery to help clean the stump and stop bleeding, and then need future surgeries to reshape the stump of the amputated limb. Many people who require surgery to recover from their injuries receive multiple bills from each surgery: a bill from the surgeon who operates, a bill from the anesthesiologist, and a bill from the hospital, for example.
- The cost of continuing tests and scans. After a broken limb, doctors typically want to perform repeat x-rays at each visit throughout the recovery process. More serious injuries, including spinal cord trauma or traumatic brain injury, may require more extensive tests to help monitor your recovery and ensure that you progress as expected. Each time you have a new scan or test, you may face additional costs added to your bill.
- Time in a long-term care facility. In some cases, accident victims may not return home immediately after their release from the hospital. Instead, they may head to a rehabilitation facility or a long-term care facility. Sometimes their stay there may simply aid in the recovery process: time to, for example, learn how to cope with permanent injuries. In other cases, as in the case of a severe traumatic brain injury, the victim may become a permanent resident in that facility.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy can help restore strength to injured body parts, allowing many accident victims to regain some of the strength, flexibility, and mobility they lost during the accident. Many accident victims require long-term physical therapy to aid in the recovery process.
- Occupational therapy. In addition to physical therapy, many accident victims attend occupational therapy to help them learn how to cope with new limitations due to their injuries. Occupational therapists can help victims of traumatic brain injury learn how to speak again or assist amputation victims as they learn how to cope with missing limbs. They may assist people with spinal cord injuries as they learn how to navigate with a wheelchair. Occupational therapy often provides a vital service for injured individuals who need to learn how to function in the world in spite of their injuries.
- Psychological therapy. Many accident victims find themselves struggling with the emotional effects of an accident. Some experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, while others become increasingly anxious. Still others may struggle to return to the activities they once enjoyed or struggle with depression in the face of their injuries and limitations. Often, psychological therapy can help accident victims learn how to cope with the changes in their lives.
- Changes to the victim’s home to accommodate your injuries. An accident victim with serious, long-term injuries may need to modify their home to make it possible for them to live comfortably after their accident. People who need a wheelchair after the accident may need to widen their doorways or install a wheelchair ramp to make it possible for them to get inside. Others may need a special bed like the ones used in the hospital, or they may need to install lifts to get up and down the stairs. They might need to install grab bars in the bathroom, or a shower that allows them to walk in, rather than needing to lift a leg to get over the side. All of those modifications can add up fast, especially for individuals with substantial injuries.
- Changes to the victim’s vehicle. In addition to altering their home, an accident victim may need to modify their vehicle to help account for their injuries: purchasing a van equipped with a wheelchair lift, for example. Some people use specially equipped vehicles that allow them to use their hands, rather than their feet, to control acceleration due to paralysis or lack of feeling below the waist.
- In-home care. Even after an accident victim’s return home, they may not have the ability to care for themselves the way they did before the accident. In-home nursing care can assist the accident victim with bathing, dressing, or cleaning. Victims of a traumatic brain injury may need round-the-clock care to help watch them in case they become upset or lost.
Serious injuries can have a substantial impact on your income—not just in terms of how much you must spend on the recovery process, but in terms of the income you lose as a result of the accident. When claiming lost income, consider:
- How long did it take you to return to work? Some minor injuries may require a few days or weeks out of work while you recover. Others may prevent you from returning to work for a much longer period of time. Consider the time you anticipate you will need to recover from your injury or the time it took you to return to work following your injury.
- Did you need to miss time at work due to appointments or therapy? Intensive physical therapy may require many accident victims to miss time they would otherwise have spent at work. Appointments can also take up a great deal of your time, especially if you must see specialists. All of that time missed at work can add up, especially if you have limited sick hours or your employer does not offer compensation for those hours.
- Did you return to work on a modified schedule? Some people try to return to work as soon as they can after an accident. They need the income and do not wish to lose their jobs. Unfortunately, their injuries may not permit them to return to work in the same capacity as before the accident. You may, for example, have to return to work on a part-time basis, limiting your hours until you recover. You can include those lost hours as part of the lost income portion of your truck accident claim.
Lost Earning Potential
In addition to lost income, some people face lost earning potential as a result of the accident. Not only are those victims unable to return to work for some time after the accident, but their injuries make it impossible for them to ever return to work in their former capacity.
Someone who works at a highly physical job in a warehouse, for example, might not be able to return due to a spinal cord injury. Likewise, someone with a traumatic brain injury might not have the capacity to return to work in a position that requires a great deal of creativity. Including lost earning potential as part of your claim can help:
- Provide a source of funds while you get back on your feet. You may need time to go through the early stages of recovery after your accident. Some accident victims may also need time to decide what they want to do with their lives if they need to change careers.
- Send you back to school or help you get a new certification. These simple options can make it easier for an accident victim to find new employment in a different industry after the accident.
- Provide the tools you need for a job search. You may need specific clothing or specialized tools to make it easier for you to obtain employment in a new position.
Pain and Suffering
Many insurance companies have a sliding scale that determines pain and suffering based on your medical expenses following a serious accident. Your medical expenses, however, may not represent the full extent of the pain and suffering you faced as a result of your injuries. Work with your attorney to determine some of the other factors that could contribute to pain and suffering after your accident, including:
- Emotional difficulty after the accident. Some accident victims, for example, may suffer from PTSD, which can limit activities as much as or more than physical injuries without substantially increasing medical costs.
- Inability to participate in former activities. Many accident victims find themselves unable to participate in the activities they once loved. A writer, for example, might suffer deeply after losing his creative flair to a traumatic brain injury, while a dancer might suffer intensely following amputation. Talk with your lawyer about how these factors might influence your truck accident claim.
- Embarrassment. Some people suffer substantial embarrassment as a result of their injuries: traumatic brain injury, for example, can leave a patient struggling to articulate ideas that once came easily.
If you suffered serious injuries in a truck accident, you may need legal help to fully understand the factors that go into your claim. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about the funds you might deserve for your injuries.
Dolman Law Group
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900