Yes, future medical bills should be factored into a car accident settlement. In any personal injury action future medical expenses for doctor, hospital and related expenses are recoverable if reasonably and necessarily incurred in the treatment of the injury from the accident.
Wisconsin jury instruction civil 1750.2 explains the necessary proof of future medical expense recovery. The verdict question will ask what sum of money will fairly and reasonably compensate the injured person for any personal injuries sustained as a result of the accident. Your answer to this question should be the amount of money that will fairly and reasonably compensate the person for the personal injuries suffered to date and is reasonably certain to suffer in the future as a result of the accident.
Personal injuries can also include health care and treatment expenses. If you are satisfied that the injured person will require health care and treatment in the future for injuries sustained as a result of the accident, include in your answer to this question the sum of money that will reasonably and necessarily be expended in the future for that care and treatment.
A person may not recover future medical expenses for doctor, hospital and other medical treatment, unless there is expert testimony establishing, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, the following: (1) that the injury is permanent; (2) that the injury will cause pain and suffering in the future; (3) that the injury will require future medical treatment; and (4) the cost of such treatment. Balz v. Heritage Mut. Ins. Co., 2006 WI App 131, ¶ 41, 294 Wis. 2d 700; L.M.S. v. Atkinson, 2006 WI App 116, ¶ 35, 294 Wis. 2d 553 , 718 N.W.2d 118. In the absence of any one of these elements, an award for future medical care is not possible. McGarrity v. Welch Plumbing Co., 104 Wis. 2d 414, 429-31, 312 N.W.2d 37 (1981).
Future medical bills need not be proven to “require mathematical certainty to determine future health care expenses.” J.K. v. Peters, 2011 WI App 149, ¶ 39 , 337 Wis. 2d 504 , 808 N.W.2d 141 . “As long as the decision is based on probability and not possibility,” the award can be made. The period for which damages for future medical expense may be awarded is limited to the time for which the treatment is reasonable and necessary. Balz, 2006 WI App 131, ¶ 41, 294 Wis. 2d 700. In calculating the net present value of future medical expenses, the effects of inflation should be considered. Cords v. Anderson, 80 Wis. 2d 525, 551-52, 259 N.W.2d 672 (1977).
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