What Are Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
An accident can result in severe injuries. Accident victims may experience debilitating pain and suffering because of their injuries. They also may incur substantial financial expenses and losses because of the accident.
Your out-of-pocket expenses are costs that you incur because of the accident or injury. You would not have had these costs had it not been for your injury. They may include costs related to your injuries, recovery, or property damage.
Even though medical bills and lost income are financial losses, these economic damages generally fall into their own categories. Your out-of-pocket costs would include any expenses other than lost wages and medical bills.
Examples of Out-of-Pocket Costs for a Personal Injury Claim
Most accident victims pay out-of-pocket expenses as they incur the costs. Therefore, it is essential to keep copies of bills, invoices, and receipts to prove that you incurred the expense. You can only recover reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses that you can prove.
Examples of out-of-pocket costs include, but are not limited to:
- The cost of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications
- In-home health care services
- The amount you pay for someone to assist you with the activities of daily living
- Parking fees and mileage for trips to medical appointments
- The cost of an annual deductible until you reach your maximum out of pocket limits for medical costs under your health insurance plan, family plan, or individual plans
- Medical supplies and medical equipment
- Assistance with household services and child care
- Costs of public transportation and rideshare services to and from doctor’s visits
- Hotel and meals for out-of-town trips for medical care
- Medical services not covered by a health plan
- Modifications to your home or vehicle because of an impairment or disability caused by the accident
You should be prepared to support your claim for out-of-pocket expenses. The insurance company may argue that some of your out-of-pocket costs were unnecessary or unreasonable. Our legal team works with you to gather evidence to support your claim.
For example, we may ask your doctor to provide a statement explaining why you needed a specific piece of medical equipment or why your injuries prevented you from performing household chores. If a claims adjuster says that an expense is too high, we may provide a cost comparison to justify the expense.
Who Pays for My Out-of-Pocket Expenses?
The person who caused your injury is generally liable for these damages. If the person has liability insurance, your out-of-pocket costs would be included in the insurance settlement. You would not receive reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses until your case is settled.
However, the insurance company is only liable for your damages up to the policy limits. Therefore, you would need to seek a personal judgment against the at-fault party if insurance proceeds do not cover the full value of your injury claim.
What Should I Do to Document My Out-of-Pocket Expenses After an Accident?
Make a list containing each expense or cost that you incur related to the accident or injury.
For example, keep a list of all over-the-counter medications and medical supplies you purchase. For each item, note the date, description of the item, and cost. Ensure that the receipt of payment shows the same information and keep the receipt in an envelope with the list.
If you need to hire someone to wash dishes, mow the lawn, or perform other services, ask for a written invoice detailing the dates of service, type of service, and charge. Pay by check made out to the person or company performing the service and ask for a receipt of payment.
It may sound tedious and time-consuming to track out-of-pocket costs. However, these expenses could total thousands of dollars. Ignoring them could result in a sizable loss.
Compensation for Other Damages Caused by an Accident
In addition to financial losses, you may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages. These damages represent the “pain and suffering” caused by an accident or injury. Non-economic damages do not have a set monetary value because every person’s experience after an accident is unique.
Items that are included in non-economic damages include:
- Mental trauma
- Physical discomfort and pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
The amount of your financial damages can impact the value of your non-economic damages. In many cases, the value of pain and suffering damages is based on a multiple of your total economic losses. Therefore, documenting your out-of-pocket expenses can increase the value of other damages in your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
You deserve to be compensated for all damages caused by a personal injury, including your out-of-pocket expenses. Our legal team at Stephens Law works diligently to document your damages to maximize your recovery.
Call our law office today to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury attorney in Fort Worth, TX.