Serious accidents can mean many years of medical treatment, both for injuries directly resulting from the accident and for future injuries to which a victim is more susceptible because of an accident. Fortunately, under certain circumstances a person is entitled to compensation for these future medical expenses.
In order to successfully claim damages for future treatment, it is necessary to show two things. First, one must prove it is more probable than not these expenses will be incurred. Second, one must establish the level of compensation necessary to cover future medical expenses.
Of the two, the highest evidentiary burden rests on establishing the need for future treatment. Showing this can be very complicated and generally requires the testimony of a medical professional. Of course, the more certain one establishes the need for future treatment, the easier it is to prevail on such a claim.
Once the need is established, it is then necessary to show how much future treatment will cost. While the burden of proving cost is less than the burden of proving need, determining future cost involves far more speculation. The testimony of an economist or medical professional can be helpful to establish these costs; however, in some instances a judge or jury can make an award based on past medical expenses or other evidence.
Although a claim for future medical treatment is not appropriate in every case, this relief can provide much-needed peace of mind to individuals facing a long road to recovery.