It is very common for treating doctors to tell patients they may need surgery or therapy in the future. As humans, we naturally focus on what the future might bring. With that in mind, what future medical expenses can be considered in sizing up the settlement value of a case?
The law in Florida is very clear. Only future medical expenses which are “reasonably certain to be incurred in the future” may be considered by a jury. Claims adjusters use the same standard. This requires the doctor to say in their opinion “beyond a medical certainty” future treatment would be required. This means “probably” or “more likely than not” the patient will need the treatment.
It may sound like a subtle difference between “surgery might be necessary” or “will be required,” but it is a huge distinction. Treatment which “might” or “could” be necessary in the future does not meet the standard. What we are looking for is for the doctor to say surgery “will be necessary” or “will probably be required.” When phrased in this way it means the future treatment should be compensated.
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