Physical therapists help a patient regain her walking skillsIf you’ve recently been injured in a car accident, your doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of your treatment plan. Physical therapy has been shown to promote healing, reduce pain, and improve one’s quality of life. These expenses, including any anticipated future costs related to a permanent disability caused by the accident, can be included in your personal injury settlement.

Receiving Physical Therapy After a Car Accident

There are three main types of car accident injuries that typically involve physical therapy.

  • Joint, bone, and ligament injuries. The physical therapist will assess your needs and recommend exercises that can be done to improve flexibility, strength, and mobility. You’ll perform some exercises during your appointment, but also be expected to exercise on your own at home.
  • Neurological injuries. Your physical therapist will work on helping you to relearn skills you need to live independently, such as dressing yourself, brushing your teeth, or handling simple cooking tasks. You may be given suggestions for how to adapt tasks to be completed with your current physical limitations.
  • Spinal cord injuries. After a spinal cord injury, physical therapy is useful in helping to protect muscles from atrophy. Pain relief is another important benefit from physical therapy for this type of injury.

Receiving Compensation for Physical Therapy Expenses

If your injuries resulted from another driver’s negligence, you can include your physical therapy expenses as part of the settlement. A physical therapist is a licensed healthcare professional with a master’s degree in physical therapy. As such, physical therapy services are included in the same general category as emergency room visits, surgical care, and follow-up appointments.

To make sure you’re fully reimbursed for your physical therapy expenses, you should keep careful records of your appointments and copies of any bills or invoices that you receive. Often, your own health insurance benefits will be used to temporarily cover the costs of your physical therapy. Once you receive your settlement, your insurer may then ask to be reimbursed for this expense. Benefits received under Medicare or Medicaid will also need to be repaid once your settlement is received.

If your physical therapy appointments involve travel, the cost of transportation and lodging can be included in your request for reimbursement. Keep receipts for gas and hotel expenses as well as a record of mileage.

If you’re missing work to attend physical therapy appointments, lost wages can be included in your personal injury compensation. Document this expense by keeping copies of your timesheets and pay stubs.

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Compensation for Future Disability-Related Physical Therapy Expenses

Physical therapy for joint, bone, and ligament injuries is normally only needed on a temporary basis. Physical therapy for neurological or spinal cord injuries is likely to be needed on an ongoing basis, since these types of injuries can be permanently disabling.

Future medical expenses related to a disability caused by your car accident can be calculated by consulting a life care planning expert. This is a professional with a deep understanding of the needs of people with permanently disabling conditions as well as the rate of healthcare inflation. The life care planning expert will estimate your future costs for physical therapy as well as any other medical care you are likely to require.

The Value of Experienced Legal Representation

Personal injury law can be quite complex, but working with an experienced attorney ensures your rights will be protected throughout the settlement process. Our personal injury lawyers can assess the worth of your case, help you document your expenses, line up evidence to show negligence, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

Rechtman & Spevak is committed to protecting the rights of Georgia residents who’ve suffered injuries in auto accidents caused by the negligence of others. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.

Jaret A. Spevak
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Atlanta Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Attorney With 20+ Years Experience