Most car accidents impact the back, neck, and shoulders of the victim. In the most severe accidents, the victim needs to have a professional doctor conduct surgery to minimize the risk of fatality. However, in less severe cases, the victim can recover almost fully from this accident with normal physical therapy. Most victims fighting an auto accident case do not know that they can claim the car accident physical therapy costs in the settlement amount.
With the help of a professional lawyer, you can file for such settlement amounts with ease. So, how much settlement amount can you expect for such physical therapy treatments?
Calculating the Car Accident Physical Therapy Settlement Amount
The total settlement costs for physical therapy after a car accident depends on the following critical factors.
1) Type and Experience of the Physician Hired
The cost of a professional physician necessary for such treatments starts from 20 USD per hour and can easily go up to 500 USD per hour. Depending on the experience and type of physician the overall cost of therapy can easily vary between these limits.
Ideally, you should always choose the most professional and experienced physician available in your area for physical therapy. Such physicians are more qualified than their inexperienced counterparts and can identify the injury correctly. After identification, these physicians can easily use the correct techniques and tools to provide the necessary treatment in the most effective ways.
2) Number of Physical Therapy Sessions Required
The total cost of physical therapy also depends on the number of sessions that an individual requires after the treatment. A few individuals may require only 5 to 10 sessions for a complete recovery. On the other hand, individuals with a more severe injury might require multiple sessions every week for several years to come.
You can usually get a discount on the per-session cost of physical therapy if you require more than 20 to 30 sessions. In more severe cases, physical therapy might not be enough for a complete recovery. You may need additional support via surgery and prosthetics.
3) The Complexity of the Case
The complexity of the case also determines the overall cost of physical therapy. A few expert chiropractors can charge several hundred dollars for a few minutes of therapy. These experts have perfected the craft of providing instant relief to a back and neck injury within a couple of minutes.
In complex cases, the experts need to take several precautionary measures to prevent any further damage to your body. Therefore, they need to act extremely carefully around the wounded joints. The intensity of such treatments decreases with time as your condition keeps getting better slowly.
4) Need for Additional Support Equipment
In some accident cases, the posture of the victim is damaged beyond repair through conventional therapy. Under such circumstances, the physicians suggest the use of prostheses and other support equipment to strengthen the posture of the victim over time.
The additional support equipment can easily cost between a few hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the complexity of the case. The most advanced prosthetic equipment from the biomedical sector costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. A combination of regular physical therapy and support equipment can help the victim lead a relatively normal life after the accident.
5) Availability of Your Health Insurance
The people who have their own personal health insurance need to pay a lot less money for their physical therapy sessions than the people who do not have insurance. While the final settlement offer should take care of the entire therapy session, having a cushion of a personal insurance scheme helps in taking care of the immediate costs.
Health and personal injury schemes can take up most of the cost of physical therapy treatments in the initial stage. Once your personal injury insurance scheme lapses, you can purchase a new one with the settlement offer that you receive from the defendant.
These were the 5 most important parameters that govern the total amount of the physical therapy component of the settlement claim. However, this is by no means a comprehensive list. There are several other technical nuances involved in calculating the average settlement amount for a shoulder injury. An experienced lawyer can help you identify all these components with ease.
A Few Personal Injury Case Examples
The type of personal injury that you suffer in the accident is a key factor in determining the overall cost of the settlement. In most car accidents, the whiplash-type injury can hurt the victim’s back, neck, as well as shoulders.
1) Damage to Shoulders
Shoulder dislocation is very common in the most severe car accidents. In high-impact situations, the damage affects the collar bones of the individual. The collar bone is located very close to the spinal cord. Therefore, in the worst-case scenario, the protrusion of the bone can press against the spinal cord.
In the relatively minor impacts, the shoulder bones of the individual can be relocated to their original place within a single setting. However, in such cases, the possibility of dislocation increases in the future. You should always choose a certified physician to carry out such operations for you.
2) Damage to Neck
In most cases, the damage to the neck of an individual is significantly worse than the damage to the shoulders or knees and arms. The pivot joint of the neck is prone to take more load during the whiplash-type impact. The damage due to the impact is worse in cases where the head is not protected by a headrest.
The damage to the neck can be either permanent or temporary. In temporary damage conditions, the individual can get the necessary treatment in a few physical therapy sessions. In severe medical conditions, doctors and physicians use a combination of surgery and physical therapy to provide relief to the victim.
3) Damage to Head
The damage to the head usually attracts the best settlement offers. The settlement is raised further if the damage is visible over the skin of the individual. This damage is also considerably worse than all the others on the list. The damage to the head can easily cause internal hemorrhage. People suffering from massive internal bleeding usually do not make it to the hospital.
The doctors usually conduct a CT scan and an MRI scan if they suspect any damage to the head of the individual. No physical therapy helps reduce the pain of the damage to the head. However, one can avail of regular massages and spa treatments to minimize the pain and relax in high tension situations.
4) Damage to Knees and Arms
The damage to the knees and arms of the individual is usually not very complicated. In case of minor bruises, you cannot expect a huge settlement amount from the case. However, the settlement amount also depends on how your lawyer portrays your case. If he/she is an expert in litigation, the pain and suffering component of the claim can fetch you a huge amount.
The knees and elbows of individuals are prone to dislocation even on relatively minor impacts. Therefore, a physical therapy session is a must in such situations. The victim of the incident might also need supporting braces and equipment during the recovery phase.
5) Damage to Back
The injuries in the back of an individual often result in critical medical conditions that require immediate attention. For the most severe injuries, a person needs to get surgery as well as the necessary physical therapy. The cost of individual physical therapy sessions is usually very high in back injuries. Also, the number of sessions required for a complete recovery is longer.
The longer session journey and the higher cost of individual sessions are the two main reasons why physical therapy for back injuries costs so much. If you do not claim the deserved amount of settlement after the accident, your life’s savings are at serious risk here.
6) Damage to the Emotional Well-Being
The damage is not necessarily physical and visible in all scenarios. In high-impact cases, a person may walk out of the accident without a single bruise. However, he/she may suffer a huge mental scar. Under such situations, the person needs to get psychotherapeutic counseling from a certified counselor.
Post-traumatic shocks and stress disorders are common with people who have been in such accidents. Ideally, you should get a complete stress test and mental checkup conducted after the accident to identify potential disorders. In some cases, the individual might not suffer mental disorders until he/she witnesses a similar accident at a later stage.
You should not ignore any physical or mental discomfort as minor and let it pass by. Instead, you should get the necessary health checkups as soon as possible after the accident to identify any potential problems. Identification of such complications at an early stage can help you take the necessary precautionary measures.
If you are not sure about the types of checkups and treatments you require, contact a professional auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Such lawyers have experience in dealing with clients that have faced similar conditions. Therefore, they are in the best position to guide you with the treatment procedure. Reputed legal firms have tie-ups with the best clinics and hospitals to get you the necessary treatment quickly.
Getting the Best Settlement Offer
Once you have identified the source of your pain and get the necessary medical certificates from reputed professionals, it is time to approach the defense carefully. You can follow a few practices to get the best settlement offer on the table.
Here is a checklist of 5 items that you should do to get the best settlement offer from your trial.
1) Hire the Best Lawyers in the Market
Hire legal help for your auto accident case. You have the right to fight your car accident case without a lawyer. However, you should ideally go for a professional legal service instead. Professional lawyers have the necessary experience of dealing with the complicated judicial process. They know the intricacies of the process in and out.
The best part about hiring a professional lawyer is that he/she will not charge a single penny until you win the case. The legal fees of most auto accident firms come from the final settlement offer. Therefore, the return on investment in hiring professional help is huge. In most cases, the lawyer can help you win the case and get a settlement offer that is exponentially huge than the first offer that the insurance company presents.
2) Prepare for a Trial
The people who prepare for the case with an intent to take the defense counsel to trial often come out of the courtroom with a huge settlement amount. Do not go to your first meeting with the defense counsel with a mindset to settle. Instead, have an ardent approach to take them to court for trial.
In most trials, the jury sympathizes with the victim of the accident and offers him/her a huge settlement amount. This amount is much larger than what the insurance companies usually offer. The defense counsel knows this fact. Therefore, it will try and settle the case out of the court. If you think that you can get a better deal by taking the defense to trial, consult with your lawyer and do so.
Overconfidence can easily cost you the entire case. Therefore, you need to act judiciously and follow the advice of your lawyer. A reliable lawyer will always give you the right advice and not settle until you get the amount that you truly deserve.
3) Collect the Necessary Evidence
Ideally, the collection of evidence for the trial should start from the moment you feel the impact of the accident. You should collect photo and video evidence of the car accident scene. You should also collect the contact details of the party at fault so that you can file a case against him/her.
A professional lawyer will help you strengthen the case by collecting more evidence from the scene of the accident. The lawyer will also get CCTV footage of the accident (if any) to leverage it during the trial. After the collection of the evidence, the lawyer will take care of the paperwork too and file the evidence for submission along with the details of the case.
If you are fighting the case without any professional legal help, do consider counseling from a person who is familiar with the judicial system’s inner workings. Such people can help you file the paperwork correctly. They will also help you process your trial quickly.
4) Calculate the Pain and Suffering Component of the Claim
A high unquantifiable component of the claim, also known as the pain and suffering component of the claim is key to a huge settlement amount. Most novice lawyers and inexperienced individuals who are fighting their own auto accident cases fail to include this component in their overall calculation.
Inexperienced people often use online settlement calculators to get a rough estimate of their settlement amount. While these tools are great at giving you the estimate for the quantifiable claim amount, they cannot calculate the unquantifiable amount correctly. Therefore, you need to approach a lawyer for expert consultation on the calculation of this amount.
A professional auto accident lawyer can blow your pain and suffering claim out of proportion and help you win a huge settlement amount. The best lawyers know how to draft the right content for a powerful and convincing jury presentation. They know how to play the victim card extremely well to help you get the best settlement offers at the trial.
5) Negotiate the Settlement Offer
A smart defense counsel will try and settle the case out of the court by offering you a settlement amount. It knows that if the case goes to trial, you will most likely get a better deal in hand. Therefore, it offers a seemingly large yet unfair settlement amount.
A professional lawyer can help you assess the settlement offer presented by the defense in a completely unbiased manner. He/she can then negotiate on your behalf to get a better deal.
You can file the invoices for your physical therapy costs in the settlement offer to get the best deal from the insurance agency. The top lawyers can help you identify the key components of the claim, file the paperwork for the trial and prepare for a negotiation with the defense. Therefore, it is a good idea to hire a professional legal service to fight the trial in court.
Always choose a reliable lawyer and be upfront about your entire accident with him/her. This will help the lawyer win the case for you and collect the necessary evidence from various sources. The lawyer will also help you study the most relevant personal injury case examples so that you can easily negotiate with the defense for the best settlement offer.