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Dealing With Medical Expenses After a Car Wreck? Make Sure to Document Them

Written by Tom Crosley
Sep 20, 2017 Car Accidents, Catastrophic Personal Injury, Personal Injury, Vehicle Wrecks
  1. 1. Getting Better Should Be Your Priority — But Taking Care of Your Finances Is Also Important! 
  2. 2. The Hospital and Insurance Company Have My Records — Why Should I Keep Track of Them? 
  3. 3. Common Types of Medical Expenses That People Forget About or Ignore 
  4. 4. How to Keep Track of Expenses Related to Your Car Accident 
  5. 5. Struggling After a Car Wreck? Get in Touch With Crosley Law Firm 

Getting Better Should Be Your Priority — But Taking Care of Your Finances Is Also Important! 

After you’ve been injured in a car accident, your top concern is getting the care you need to treat your injuries. Sometimes, that means immediate surgery, follow-up appointments, and ongoing physical therapy. Other times, pain starts to set in days or even weeks after a crash. At this point you may see several different doctors to get a definitive diagnosis, and then you need treatment. 

Every person’s journey after a collision is unique. But if your injuries were caused by another driver’s recklessness behind the wheel, you shouldn’t be responsible for carrying the financial burden of your medical treatment — and you shouldn’t trust an insurance company to make you a fair offer for compensation. 

We have written before about who pays for medical bills after a car accident, but calculating medical expenses related to a car crash is complex, and having an accurate idea of your total medical costs is crucial after a wreck. For example, knowing your medical costs will help you decide: 

  • How much your claim is worth 
  • Whether an offer from the insurance company addresses the true costs of your injury 
  • Whether you should hire a personal injury attorney to help you with your claim 

Below, we’ll discuss some of the important reasons to keep careful track of your medical bills after a car crash. We’ll also talk about certain types of medical expenses people tend to leave out of their records and the best way to collect and store your healthcare bills. 

The Hospital and Insurance Company Have My Records — Why Should I Keep Track of Them? 

If you’ve ever had to dispute a medical charge, you may understand how complicated and bureaucratic medical billing systems can be. Lots of issues can arise during the billing and record-keeping processes. For example: 

  • Sometimes, doctors at the hospital are contracted out, and they bill separately from the hospital’s record-keeping system. 
  • If you get treatment at a facility outside your network, the facility may not bill your insurance at all. 
  • In Texas, healthcare entities often bill the at-fault party’s insurance after a car wreck instead of the victim’s. 
  • Hospitals may attach liens to insurance claims or settlements; sometimes these liens need to be paid long after treatment has been received. 

 Unfortunately for car accident victims, this means that they need to serve as their own advocates while also juggling their physical and mental recovery, the financial complications of taking time off work, and more. 

If a healthcare bill doesn’t make it into the official records that the insurance company is looking at, they won’t factor it in to your settlement offer, and that means you won’t get compensated fairly. This is one of the most important reasons to keep careful track of all the expenses related to your car accident. 

Common Types of Medical Expenses That People Forget About or Ignore 

For many people, keeping track of their major medical expenses is simple. They keep bills and receipts for things like: 

  • Surgeries 
  • Emergency room visits 
  • Doctor or specialist visits 

However, there are often many other costs associated with a recovery after a car wreck. Below, we’ve outlined some of the common expenses people tend to forget about. 

  • Prescriptions and Over-the-Counter Medications or Devices 

Paying for prescriptions may seem like an obvious expense to keep track of, but many people forget to document the over-the-counter (OTC) medications or devices that they buy and use to treat their car accident injuries. Painkillers, braces, wound dressings, and many other purchases may not have been necessary if you hadn’t been injured, and you should keep track of those expenses, too. 

  •  Ambulance Rides and Other Transportation or Travel Costs 

Many people will keep track of costs associated with an ambulance ride and any other medical travel, but they forget to document other transportation costs associated with their diagnosis and treatment. For example, if you drive to and from doctor visits or the emergency room, or if you or a loved one has to stay in a hotel or hospital during your treatment, those are costs you should definitely keep track of since they are related to your injuries. 

  • Physical Therapy and In-Home Care or In-Home Modifications 

Physical therapy can take many forms. You may go to a facility and receive a bill for physical therapy services or for getting certain types of injections, which most people remember to document. However, many people forget to keep track of other treatments such as massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy, chiropractor visits, or in-home care. Similarly, if you need to make modifications to your home or purchase special equipment as part of your treatment, those costs should be factored into the expenses associated with your injuries. 

  • Doctor Visits and Medical Testing Procedures 

While most people keep track of their doctor visits and specialist visits, diagnostic testing may be billed separately. You should record any costs for blood tests, MRI or CT scans, X-rays, and any other tools your healthcare providers use to diagnose your injuries. 

  • Physical Treatment and Mental Health Treatment 

In addition to physical injuries, car crashes can also cause deep and long-lasting mental trauma. You should track any costs associated with visits to psychologists, psychiatrists, or other mental health professionals that result from your accident and keep them in the records related to your injury. 

In addition to healthcare expenses, many other costs can arise after a car accident-related injury. For example, time you take off work, lost wages, car repairs, canceled vacations or travel plans, and many other expenses may start to pile up. Often, these “little” costs (in comparison to the massive medical expenses) can add up very quickly after a crash — especially if your injury persists for a long time or results in permanent disability. 

And, ultimately, your injury is about more than just the cost of medical treatment. Car accidents can have a lasting impact on your physical, mental, and financial well-being, which is why it’s so important to keep careful track of how a vehicle crash has affected your life. 

How to Keep Track of Expenses Related to Your Car Accident 

Each person has their own way of staying organized. Some people have a planner while others use their smartphone. Some people have a calendar, and still others prefer to use memory aids like Post-It notes. 

While some of these differences come down to preference, not every method is created equal when it comes to documenting your expenses related to a car wreck. Below are some tips to help you stay organized, which is especially important since many car accident claims become personal injury cases when the insurance company refuses to offer the victim a fair settlement. 

  • Keep a Journal 

Keeping a journal related to your accident may seem like a nuisance when you just want things to go back to normal, but it is one of the best ways to stay organized with as little effort as possible while you focus on healing and recovery. Each time you have an appointment, attend a physical therapy session, or make a purchase related to your injuries, make a note and slip the bill and receipt in your journal. You can also take notes about how you feel, how much pain you are experiencing, what symptoms you were having, etc. These notes will prove invaluable as you look back on the history of your treatment and the costs associated with your injury. 

  • Take Lots of Photographs 

Hopefully you took lots of photographs immediately after the car accident if you were able. But you should also take photographs of your injuries, your medical paperwork, and anything else associated with your crash. They can help jog your memory later, and they could provide invaluable evidence if you decide to pursue a personal injury case. 

  • Keep Copies of Your Bills and Receipts 

For all the items mentioned above, make sure to keep copies of your bills and receipts. From emergency room visits and car repair bills to pharmacy pick-ups and gas station receipts, you should keep documentation for any financial transactions associated with your injury. 

  • Collect Other Documentation 

In addition to your medical expenses, you may have other documentation associated with your injuries. Test results, diagnostic images, etc. should be compiled and kept together. You should also keep police reports, contact information for the other drivers and witnesses, security footage from the scene of the crash, and any other documents and items related to your crash. Store this documentation along with your medical records 

  • Keep Everything in One Place 

When you’re seeing several different doctors, getting your car repaired, dealing with calls from the insurance company, communicating with your employer, and still trying to stay on top of your day-to-day life in a thousand other ways, it’s easy for things like receipts to get lost in the shuffle. Get a folder or binder, put it somewhere convenient, and make sure to put anything related to your car accident or subsequent medical treatment in the folder right away so nothing slips through the cracks. 

Struggling After a Car WreckGet in Touch With Crosley Law Firm 

If you’re not sure how you’ll pay for your medical care after a car accident, you’ve received a lower settlement offer than you expected, or you simply want to discuss what your options are after being injured in a crash, you should contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Crosley Law Firm.

We offer a free consultation so we can listen to the details of your story and give you candid advice about what your best course of action is moving forward. And if we can take on your case, you don’t have to pay us a dime unless we get you a settlement or win your case in the courtroom.

Best of all, our professional staff can acquire your medical records, compile them, and keep track of all the details related to your case so you can simply focus on getting better.

Our attorneys have years of experience handling car accident cases, and we’re here to help you. Call our office at 210-LAW-3000 (210-529-3000), or fill out our brief online contact form and we’ll get back to you right away. 

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. 

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