Many of my clients come to me after serious car accidents and a common question is, “who will pay for surgery if I need it?” Frequently, the question has two aspects. Many are nervous and in the early stages of medical care for a disc herniation or broken bone. They want to know what happens if years from now they need surgery. Who will pick up the tab? Given that the Georgia statute of limitations for injuries is two years, what happens if the surgery is necessary in five years? Can the client recover for that possibility?
First, you should remember that if you have health care insurance and carry it into the future, it will pay for the surgery regardless of whether you make a recovery in your Georgia personal injury case. However, if you do not have insurance, the question of recovering for a future surgery is more complex.
Let us use the example of a client that has been diagnosed with a cervical disc herniation from a Georgia car accident. In most cases, the orthopedist will order an MRI if the client is complaining of burning and tingling feelings down the arms and into their hands. If the MRI demonstrates that there is nerve impingement, they will likely have the client try a regimen of physical therapy for several months. If there is no improvement, then a round of three epidurals is usually attempted. If there is still no result, depending on the type of symptoms and the MRI, there are options including RF nerve ablation, microdiscectomy and cervical fusion. In most cases, it will take a year and half to get to the point where the client will know if surgery is necessary. It is not advisable to settle your case before the full diagnosis is known. If you are getting close to the end of the statute of limitations, then you will have to file suit and address the issue of future prognosis with the doctor. In order to be allowed to present evidence of future medical care and/or surgery, the Plaintiff has to show through competent medical testimony that the future medical care is probable. If the doctor will only say that the surgery is possible, then the trial court will likely exclude the testimony as speculative.Bridges v. State Farm, Inc. and Blue, 221 Ga. App. 773 (1996) These issues are usually addressed in a series of motions before the trial begins called, Motions in Limine.
If you have been diagnosed with a disc herniation from a car accident in Georgia, contact an effective lawyer.