What Does "Out-of-Pocket Expenses" Mean?

Out-of-pocket expenses cover a variety of costs related to your injuries. When these expenses are reasonable and necessary, you may seek to recover them in a settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer can help you determine which expenses may be included in a settlement or lawsuit.

Out-of-pocket expenses are any costs that you must pay for using your own money after a car accident, slip-and-fall accident, or any other type of personal injury case. These expenses must be related to your injuries.

For example, if you are unable to drive due to your injuries, you may need to get a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to go to medical appointments. You’ll have to pay for your cab fare out-of-pocket because it won’t be covered by insurance. This expense would likely be considered reasonable because you had no other way to get to your doctor’s appointment.

However, if you were to order a limousine to drive you, this would be unreasonable and unnecessary because there was no reason for you to pay extra for this type of transportation service. You would not be able to seek damages for this expense.

Types of Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Florida law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. An injured party should first seek compensation from their own PIP plan. However, this coverage may not cover your out-of-pocket expenses, especially if you have low policy limits and high expenses.

After an accident, you may have several categories of out-of-pocket expenses. The types of expenses you need to pay will depend on the severity of your injuries and what activities you need help with.

Many types of medical expenses aren’t covered by insurance.

You may need to pay out-of-pocket for any of the following types of medical costs:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Co-pays or deductibles for certain medical treatments
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs or crutches
  • Lodging if you need to stay overnight before or after getting medical treatment

If you have a long-term disability due to your injuries, you may also need to make modifications around your home. The cost of these accommodations may be recoverable as well.

Transportation Expenses

You may need to pay for transportation if your vehicle is damaged or if you are physically unable to drive.

The following types of transportation expenses may be recoverable:

  • Cost of a rental vehicle
  • Cost of taxis, rideshares, or bus fare
  • Parking fees
  • Tolls

Remember that these expenses must be related to your injuries or seeking medical treatment from your injuries. 

Other Expenses

If you have serious injuries that impact your daily life, you may need to incur additional expenses while you recover.

You might pay out-of-pocket for any of the following necessary services:

  • Child care
  • Pet care
  • Housekeeping or cleaning
  • Personal care if you are unable to perform activities like eating or dressing

These expenses may be reasonable if you can show that you can’t perform them on your own due to your injuries.

Documenting Out-of-Pocket Expenses

You should document all payments made for out-of-pocket expenses. You may also want to make notes about what the expense was for so you don’t forget.

Proof of out-of-pocket expenses may include the following records:

  • Credit card statements
  • Bank statements
  • Receipts or invoices
  • Canceled checks

In addition to proof of payment, you may also need to prove that the expense was for something reasonable and necessary related to your injuries. Keep all of these records and have copies available to give to your personal injury lawyer.

Seeking Compensation for Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Your personal injury lawyer in South Florida can include your out-of-pocket expenses in your demand letter. This letter requests a financial settlement for all of your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses.

In some cases, an insurer may argue the necessity or reasonableness of an expense. For example, they may refuse to pay for out-of-pocket costs for a motorized wheelchair if you were able to use a less costly manually operated wheelchair. In these situations, you’ll need to show why the most expensive option was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.

If you aren’t able to settle your case, you can include your out-of-pocket expenses in your damages at trial. The jury would then evaluate your case and decide whether to award you compensation for these damages.

Get Help Seeking Full Compensation for Your Damages

You have four years (if your accident occurred on or before 3/23/2023) or two years (if it occurred after that date) to file your personal injury lawsuit under a recent change to Florida’s statute of limitations. However, some insurance companies require claims to be filed within a shorter time frame, so don’t delay bringing your claim. There are also exceptions to the statute of limitations in many cases.

You can learn more about the types of damages you can seek compensation for by contacting Hollander Law Firm. Request a free consultation to get your questions answered and start seeking compensation for your injuries.