Included among the damages available through a Georgia car accident case are expenses related to future medical care. Sometimes, however, you may not know immediately if you require a specific procedure or further treatment because your injury is still progressing. In those instances, it is important to get a firm answer from your physician about their recommendations concerning your treatment and to solidify your plans to pursue those treatments. Otherwise, you may face barriers in being compensated for future medical expenses that have not been incurred yet.
In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision, the court had to consider a case involving future medical expenses following a car accident. The plaintiff was driving his large SUV while helping a friend move some boxes. As the plaintiff approached the neighborhood where he was going to deliver his friend’s boxes, he pulled into a left-hand turn lane and paused while waiting for traffic to pass. Moments later, a vehicle driven by the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff’s vehicle at high speed, sending the SUV nearly 40 yards down the road.
Following the accident, the plaintiff suffered severe back pain. He met with an orthopedic surgeon several times to consider future treatments or surgery, but did not pursue the latter. The plaintiff subsequently sued the defendant, arguing that his negligent operation of her car caused the accident and injured his back. After trial, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and awarded him $25,000 in damages and $100,000 in future medical expenses. The defendant filed a motion striking the plaintiff’s award of future medical expenses, which the trial court granted. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the trial court erred in granting the defendant’s motion to strike future medical expenses from his damages. The court disagreed and sided with the defendant, noting that while prospective medical expenses are recoverable in Georgia, it must be supported by evidence. Because, during the trial, the plaintiff only brought in an orthopedic surgeon to discuss the possibility of surgery and the plaintiff was still relatively early in his treatment process and unsure about whether he would pursue surgery, the court decided that there was not enough evidence to grant damages for future medical expenses.
In Georgia, although future medical expenses are available for plaintiffs who have been involved in personal injury accidents, any such award must be supported with evidence so that the jury can determine the reasonable value of such damages. When no evidence is presented, or evidence is lacking, and the jury is forced to speculate, it will not likely be sufficient to prove future medical expenses.
Do You Need a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney?
If you or someone you know has recently been injured in a Georgia car accident, contact the attorneys at McAleer Law today. The lawyers on our team have years of experience representing all sorts of personal injury clients and will advocate tirelessly on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve. We understand how challenging the post-accident recovery process can be, and we vow to take every effort to make it as easy on you as possible. Call us at 404-622-5377 today to schedule your free consultation.