The Need for Ongoing Medical Care after a Car Accident and the Cost
When an injury which results from a car accident is serious, it often means that you will need ongoing medical care. Multiple surgeries, physical and occupational therapy, and assistive devices often require months of care. The challenges and costs of ongoing medical care continue to add up and add to the stress and frustration you and your loved ones feel.
Many injuries require long-term care or come with a prognosis that indicates permanent damage. Some of these injuries include the following:
- Burn injuries – in cases involving second and third-degree burns, multiple skin graft surgeries may be necessary as well as other reconstructive surgeries. You may require physical therapy and occupational therapy to help you learn how to cope with any limitations.
- Traumatic brain injuries – some brain injuries are permanent while others may take months to heal. Even those that heal may have lingering effects such as memory loss.
- Spinal cord injuries – this type of injury often causes permanent damage and paralysis, which requires surgery and therapy as well as the introduction of assistive devices and alterations of living conditions to allow you to function as normally as possible.
- Severed limbs – the loss of an arm or leg often requires surgery and therapy to help you begin to recover. You may need to be fitted with a prosthetic limb or other assistive devices.
In many cases where an injury is serious, or the damage is permanent, you may need emotional care as well as physical treatment. Some patients require therapy to help them deal with the emotional or mental aspects of the accident. They may develop post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD from the accident, requiring long-term therapy.
Responsibility for Ongoing Medical Costs
When your injury requires ongoing medical treatment, you may wonder who is responsible for these bills. If you have filed a claim, these costs will be added in as long as you have not already settled with the insurance company.
One of the mistakes many people make is settling too soon. It often takes a year before a prognosis is known in a permanent injury. It can be difficult before this point to accurately determine the costs of ongoing care. Once you settle a claim, you may not be able to add in any additional costs, which will leave the expenses to you to be paid.
The responsible party does not have to pay your medical costs on an ongoing basis. They are able to wait until a settlement is reached and pay a lump sum. This means you are responsible for the bills in the interim. Final responsibility will depend on where you live and what settlement is reached.
In a state with a no-fault policy, you may have to pay for your ongoing costs. In severe accidents, this no-fault policy may be challenged, and the responsible party may be required to pay. In other situations, your auto insurance provider may pay up to the maximum amount listed in your policy. At that point, your health insurance may take over to pay the medical expenses. You may also be left with a co-pay. Often, you can work out payment arrangements with your medical providers.
In a state that does not have the no-fault status, the responsible party’s insurance will be required to pay for your medical costs. However, you will have to prove fault and provide evidence of your medical expenses.
There are many challenges involved in an injury from a car accident that requires ongoing care. You may be unable to return to your job and have ongoing financial expenses to deal with. It is important to hire an attorney who can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injury and to ensure you can afford the medical treatment that you need now and in the future.