Why Medical Bills Aren’t Everything in Personal Injury Cases

injured patient sitting on bed in hospital

You cannot evaluate a personal injury case based on just the medical bills and treatment. The bills and treatment are certainly relevant, but they are just one part of the story.

Yet, too often I hear from plaintiffs’ lawyers, defense lawyers, and insurance adjusters who fall into the trap of only focusing on bills and treatment. I also have heard of AI programs that purport to be able to calculate the value of a case by plugging in certain data. But such a focus fails to take the whole picture into consideration.

Here’s the example I give clients:

  • Client A goes to the hospital on the day they get into a car wreck and accumulates $15,000 in bills through a bunch of MRIs and CT scans, but they’re ultimately fine and never need medical treatment for this particular incident again.
  • Client B does not go to the hospital the day they get into a car wreck, but they go to a doctor the next day with neck pain and the doctor starts them on physical therapy. But the PT doesn’t help, so they have to undergo a few rounds of epidural steroid injections in their neck. Client B is in pain for 6 months. His bills are $15,000.

Whose pain and suffering damages are more in this example?

There are numerous factors that go into the evaluation of damages that have to be considered (and considered by a human being, not a computer). These include:

  1. Likability and credibility of the plaintiff
  2. Mechanism of injury
  3. Likability and credibility of the defendant
  4. Aggravating liability facts
  5. Extent and duration of past pain and suffering
  6. Extent and duration of any ongoing and expected future pain and suffering
  7. Causation issues
  8. Venue

Every case is different, and each case will present its own unique facts that need to be evaluated. Before considering a demand amount, a settlement offer, or an amount to ask for at trial, make sure you have considered all of the relevant facts in your case.

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About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.