If you’ve been the victim of an accident, you will most likely have gotten medical treatment for your injuries. Depending on the scope of your injuries, these bills can get very expensive.
But, it raises, the question: can you recover the costs of these medical bills? The short answer is yes, but it ultimately depends on the facts of your particular case.
1. Medical Bills Are an Item of “Special” Damages
There are two types of damages in a personal injury case: general damages and special damages. General damages are those damages that cannot be readily quantified and include things like pain in suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of companionship. On the other hand, special damages are losses that can be readily quantified and include medical bills (as well as other items like lost wages, vocational rehabilitation expenses, and life care plan requirements).
2. Recovery of Medical Bills (Past and Future) is Allowed
By the time your case gets to trial, you may have incurred substantial medical expenses. These amounts can be recovered in your award of damages. In cases with serious injuries, you may also be facing the possibility of future surgeries or other medical care. These amounts, which will have to be proven, can also be recovered at trial.
3. Health Insurance Payments Are a “Collateral Source”
Many people do not pay their medical bills out-of-pocket but rather have their insurance pay the bills. Louisiana treats these payments as “collateral sources,” which means that these are sources of payment that will not reduce a defendant’s liability to you. In other words, you can still recover the full amount of your bills (including both any out-of-pocket payments that you have made and any payments made by your insurance company) even if they were paid by somebody else. The idea is that the defendant cannot take advantage of your decision to purchase health insurance.
4. Liens Can Reduce the Amount of Medical Bills You Can Recover
Even though you are allowed to recover the full amount of your medical bills, this doesn’t mean that you will be able to pocket the full amount. This is because health insurers and others who pay medical bills will likely seek to recover what they paid from the defendant (and from any recovery that you have). Understanding how liens can affect your recovery is extremely complicated, so you should make sure to discuss it with your attorney.
Call a New Orleans Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident (whether a car accident, truck accident, offshore accident, or maritime accident), The Mahone Firm can help. Call (504) 564-7342 to discuss your potential case with an injury attorney. There is no charge for an initial consultation.