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How Does Comprehensive Medical Insurance Coverage Impact My Damages Claim?

Sep 16, 2020 - Personal Injury, Tuscaloosa by

Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney Here to Help You

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another person’s negligence (or other misconduct), then Alabama law may give you a right to sue and recover significant damages as compensation.

These compensatory damages include medical expenses suffered due to the defendant’s misconduct.  For example, if you fractured your legs in a car accident caused by a drunk driving defendant, then they would be liable for the various medical expenses associated with the injuries: diagnostics, surgical intervention, pharmaceutical treatment, rehabilitation, and more.

First-time plaintiffs may be left somewhat confused.  Does the fact that they have comprehensive medical insurance (and therefore paid nothing out-of-pocket for their treatment) impact their ability to claim medical expenses as damages?

No, it does not!  Let’s take a closer look.

Out-of-Pocket Costs Are Unnecessary for Recovery

In Alabama, and other jurisdictions, plaintiffs may recover for their medical expenses in full, even if they did not suffer out-of-pocket costs (due to having purchased comprehensive insurance coverage).

For example, suppose that you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, and have to undergo $50,000 in surgeries (along with other related medical costs).  As part of your overall damages claim, you assert a claim for medical expenses of $50,000.  In reality, however, you did not have to pay a single cent out-of-pocket, as your medical insurance covered those costs completely.  Despite that, the defendant would still be “on the hook” for the $50,000 — assuming you could establish liability.

At first glance, this may seem unfair to the defendant, as they are forced to pay out for losses that were not directly suffered by the plaintiff (i.e., covered medical expenses), thus giving the plaintiff a “financial windfall.”  Fairness concerns are what lead to this result, however — if the defendant was not required to pay for covered medical expenses, then the plaintiff’s purchase of medical insurance would be rendered pointless.  The courts have observed that they are not going to punish plaintiffs for having the good sense to purchase comprehensive medical insurance coverage prior to an accident.

Contact Our Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney for Legal Assistance

Cross & Smith is a Tuscaloosa-based personal injury firm with a commitment to serving plaintiffs throughout the state of Alabama, helping them in a variety of injury-related disputes, from motor vehicle accidents to construction site accidents, and more.

Our team has several decades of experience assisting clients at every phase of the litigation process — given our willingness and ability to take a case to trial, we are often well-positioned to secure a favorable result during settlement negotiations.  This persistent approach is backed by thorough advocacy.  Unlike many of our competitors, we invest significant time and resources into each of our clients so that we can fully understand the unique wrinkles of their case.

Ready to speak to an experienced Tuscaloosa injury attorney at Cross & Smith?  Call us at 877-791-0618 or send us an intake form through our website to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.

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