If you suffer a work injury and are pursuing compensation, you are entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses you incur as a result of your injury. While it’s great that your doctor bills and any surgeries will be paid in your claim, what about medical bills you may have later in life as a result of the long-term effects of your injury? Can you be compensated for these future expenses? You can, but it’s not a simple process. We take a closer look at how you can get compensation for future medical expenses after a work injury in today’s blog.
Types Of Future Medical Claims
It should go without saying, but we’re going to say it just to be safe. If you are going to be working towards a settlement that could include future payments for medical expenses, you absolutely need a lawyer by your side. The insurance company will not have your best interests in mind when working on a payout structure, and a lawyer can work with medical experts to determine how future medical expenses should be best handled. Never settle, especially if you expect to have future medical expenses, without a lawyer by your side.
When it comes to settling your workers’ compensation claim and determining payments for future medical claims, settlements typically have three ways of dealing with future expenses. You can have future medical claims open, some open and some closed, and all future claims closed. Let’s take a look at each:
Future Medical Claims Open – Some injuries will obviously require months or years of regular medical care, and these settlements are best reached with future medical claims left open. Your lawyer and your doctor can help provide estimates for future expenses to drive up a settlement offer, but it’s impossible to predict exactly how nerve damage or crush injuries may affect you a decade down the line. If extended rehab or regular medical expenses are expected, your lawyer will work towards a full, final and complete settlement with future medical claims open. This would give you a lump sum while also covering any future medical expenses related to your work injury.
Some Future Medical Claims Open And Closed – Some insurance companies will try to grab a little more control over your future medical expenses, and that’s generally not a problem if you have a lawyer by your side. Insurance companies tend to try to close the door on your ability to seek certain medical expenses that have tend to be less effective than other, more medically-documented options. For example, if you suffer a spine injury at work, the insurance company may say that they’ll pay for any future physical therapy expenses pertaining to your back, but they will not pay for acupuncture or massage therapy. A good lawyer will ensure that necessary future medical expenses will be covered in your settlement, but compromising on less effective treatment options that you likely wouldn’t pursue anyways may come up in a full, final and complete settlement with some open and closed future medical claims.
Future Medical Claims Closed – Some insurance companies may try to offer a larger settlement offer with the caveat that the settlement provides compensation for all future medical claims. Again, you need to have a lawyer by your side if the other side wants to close the door on all future medical claims. You really need to look at all the possible long-term medical costs associated with your injury and ensure the settlement offer fairly takes these possibilities into account. Full, final and complete settlements with future medical claims closed is a common type of settlement that can provide the employee with peace of mind after a work injury, but you and your lawyer need to do your due diligence to ensure future medical expenses are accounted for in the final lump sum.
For help pursuing compensation that includes future medical expenses, reach out to the team at Hey Workers today.