Post-crash physical therapy is part of the economic damages in a car crash claim. This category also includes medical transportation expenses (e.g. ambulance or medevac), emergency medical treatment, follow-up medical care, prescription drugs, and medical devices. The driver who was legally responsible for the wreck, or rather that driver’s insurance company in most cases, pays for physical therapy and all other damages.
That last paragraph makes an important point. Of course, all my paragraphs make important points. Some victims have personal relationships with some tortfeasors (negligent drivers). That’s especially true if the victim was a passenger in a tortfeasor’s vehicle. Some people don’t like to file claims in these cases because they don’t want their friend or family member to “pay” for the “accident.” In most situations, individuals pay nothing. The insurance company pays everything. That includes hiring a lawyer and paying damages.
Damages in a car crash claim usually also include compensation for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. All these damages are typically available if a lawyer proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
Broken bone physical therapy is the most common example of lost use physical therapy. If Jim breaks his leg, he usually cannot put any weight on the leg for several months. A physical therapist works with Jim to strengthen the muscles that have atrophied.
Most insurance companies use boilerplate tables to determine how much physical therapy they’ll pay for. A broken arm means three sessions, a collapsed lung merits five sessions, and so on.
However, not all injuries are created equally. There’s a big difference between a missed step broken bone and a car crash broken bone. A missed step broken bone usually only needs a cast. A car crash broken bone usually means surgery. During this procedure, a doctor normally uses metal parts, like rods and screws, to reconstruct the bone.
Many insurance adjusters don’t understand, or don’t care, that the recovery period for a car crash broken bone is a lot longer. Therefore, an attorney must continue to advocate for the victim, so s/he gets the help s/he needs.
Brain injury physical therapy is lost function physical therapy. This PT isn’t a matter of strengthening existing muscles. When brain cells die, they never regenerate. So, a brain injury physical therapist must train uninjured areas of the brain to assume lost functions. That’s why many serious head injury victims must learn to walk, talk, eat, and do pretty much everything all over again.
Progress in lost use physical therapy is easy to measure. Usually, victims improve with each session. Once they pass a range of motion or similar test, PT normally ends. Lost function physical therapy is different. Progress is uneven. A sudden breakthrough may follow several weeks of seemingly useless sessions.
Once again, lawyers advocate for victims in these situations. Since the insurance company is paying for physical therapy, the company always wants to pull the financial plug as quickly as possible. An attorney helps ensure that the money keeps flowing and the victim keeps improving.
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