After a car crash, injured people often worry about how they will pay for needed medical care and treatment. The injured plaintiff has the burden of proving that future medical treatment is reasonably necessary. The at fault driver is responsible for paying the reasonable value or expense of medical care and treatment necessarily or reasonably obtained in the past or to be so obtained in the future.
Doctors May Testify About Future Medical Care
“It is a long-standing principle that only those future medical expenses that are “reasonably certain to be incurred” are recoverable.” Shearon v. Sullivan, 821 So. 2d 1222, 1225 (Fla. 1st DCA 2002) (holding that whatever qualification was placed on the doctor’s opinion goes to the weight of the opinion, and not its admissibility).
The issue of future medical care usually, if not always, involves some uncertainty. Future medical expenses may be proven by testimony of a treating doctor. At trial, the jury should be allowed to hear and weigh the treating doctor’s testimony concerning future medical care and expenses. While the doctor does not have to give a precise dollar amount, the doctor should explain how and why the future bills are reasonable and necessary to the treatment of the injury. Albertson’s, Inc. v. Brady, 475 So. 2d 986, 988 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985).
The jury may also consider past medical bills to estimate future medical expenses. National Car Rental System, Inc. v. Holland, 269 So. 2d 407 (Fla. 4th DCA 1972) Where there is sufficient evidence to infer future medical treatment is reasonably certain, a jury may allow money for future medical expenses in their verdict.
Future Possible Conditions
“It is well-established that evidence of future possible conditions and circumstances may be admitted in evaluating a plaintiff’s present condition… While the probative value of such evidence is not great, it is information the jury should have in the difficult task of trying to give plaintiff’s condition a dollar value.” Vitt v. Ryder Truck Rentals, Inc. 340 So. 2d 962, 965 (Fla. 3d DCA 1976)(admitting the testimony of treating physicians concerning possible future surgery). “[W]hatever qualification is placed on the opinion by the expert (i.e., surgery is possible or likely) goes to the weight of the opinion, and not its admissibility… [A] medical expert may testify that future medical procedures are “possible” or “likely” and need not phrase an opinion in terms of such surgery or treatment being “reasonably necessary.” White v. Westlund, 624 So. 2d 1148 (Fla. 4th DCA 1993). Thus, every link in the chain of medical evidence does not have to be proven to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.
Serious/Catastrophic Injuries Attorney in Florida
Our North Tampa catastrophic injury attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC understand the life-long impact that serious accident injuries can have on you and your family. We can bring our seasoned, aggressive advocacy skills to help you recover fair compensation for your injuries. Our lawyers have helped serious accident injury victims get the financial compensation they need to move forward with their lives. We provide our services to clients in Brooksville, Lutz, and the surrounding counties. To discuss your case with one of our attorneys, please call us today at (866) 364-9529 or you can reach us via our online form and we will arrange an initial consultation at no cost.