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Special Damages – Past and Current Medical Expenses

Generally, the definition for Special Damages is the monetary losses someone incurs from an accident such as medical bills (past, current and future), the cost to repair damaged property, and lost earnings.  This month we’ll discuss the key information associated with measuring past medical expenses incurred for a claim.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines medical expenses to be “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body. These expenses include payments for legal medical services rendered by physicians, surgeons, dentists, and other medical practitioners. They include the costs of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes.” 

If you are gathering past medical bills for presenting a claim to an insurance company or other responsible party, it is important to know the date of your accident.  Any medical expenses that were incurred prior to that date will be your (or your health insurance company’s) responsibility.  Then, ask all legal medical service providers to send you copies of their “full and complete” bills since the date of the accident.  The bills should be not include any reimbursements from insurance, since the insurance companies will likely work out those amounts later in the process of settling any claims using their “usual, customary and reasonable" (UCR) or statutory rates.

Once you have all of the bills, add them all together and enter it into a calculator like our What Is Your Claim Worth? Portal for further study.  You may encounter some resistance getting copies of your bills from your providers, since they may not be familiar with sending patients complete bills.  Generally, it is easier for you to get the bills than an attorney or consultant.  It is worth the effort so that you have an idea of what costs have been incurred thus far.  If you are having trouble, please contact us, your adjuster, or attorney for additional help. 

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By Robert J. Blackburn, Managing Principal, Blackburn Group, Inc., contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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