Calculating the Total Cost of a Leg Injury

If you’ve injured your leg at work or in an automobile accident through no fault of your own, you probably understand the immense hardship, both fiscally and emotionally, that accompanies the injury. Below, we will go step-by-step through the various expenses that arise as a result of a leg injury. We will focus on both economic and non-economic damages, while noting the differences between short-term and long-term expenses. Having a sense of the real costs associated with a leg injury can be helpful when pursuing a personal injury claim.

Economic Damages

When tallying up the total cost of a leg injury, you want to consider both concrete monetary losses and intangible losses such as pain and emotional distress. The former, sometimes called economic damages, refers to all expenses directly caused by the injury, such as medical bills, rehabilitation, lost income (present and future) and “incidental” costs.

In a country where basic healthcare costs twice as much as the next most expensive country, even something as common as a broken leg can lead to unconscionably high medical bills. According to CostHelper.com, without health insurance, a leg injury that doesn’t require surgery could cost up to $2,500, while surgery on a broken leg could cost anywhere from $17,000 to $35,000. Other expenses include X-rays, which can range from $140 to $2,000, according to NewChoiceHealth.com; and casts, which can range from $221 to $238. If your broken leg happens to be covered by health insurance, you still might have to pay thousands of dollars in copays, coinsurance and the yearly out-of-pocket maximum.

Other pecuniary damages come in the form of lost earnings. If, for instance, you’ve suffered a severe open (compound) fracture – which is when the bone punctures the skin –  it’s likely that you’ll need to take time away from work. You may even have to see a physical therapist to rehabilitate the leg, which can take several months. Thus, it’s possible that your employer will cut your wages in some form or another. To maximize your compensation, it’s imperative to keep paystubs or any other documentation indicating your usual salary.

For both medical expenses and lost earnings, you should also consider potential long-term effects of the injury. For example, if a doctor prescribes a certain kind of treatment to be applied indefinitely, you should gather documents showing the potential long-term costs of such a treatment. Or if you’ve been forced out of employment, you can argue that you lost potential future income in addition to the short-term wage reductions.

Lastly, you might want to save receipts for purchases made in and around the hospital or rehabilitation facility (such as meals, parking and entertainment), as these are costs that wouldn’t have come up if not for the leg injury.

Non-Economic Damages

Beyond monetary losses, it’s also imperative to rigorously maintain records pertaining to so-called non-economic damages. These include emotional turmoil, decreased sex-drive, humiliation, constant life-changing pain, and other intangible effects of the injury.

You may ask (and rightfully so): what kinds of records are relevant to non-economic damages? One example could be a statement from a mental health professional who can confirm that your state of mind (or the state of mind of a loved one) has been significantly altered by the leg injury.

Lastly, going through the trauma of a totally unexpected leg injury is burdensome enough, so you probably don’t want to add the trouble of having to seek out and organize all these records after the fact.

If you do have a personal injury claim for a leg injury, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help reduce the stress of this onerous process.