I was hurt in a car wreck. My back and leg were injuried. I don’t need surgery right now but who knows what will happen 10 years from now. Can I settle my case for my medical bills, my lost wages, and my pain and suffering and an agreement that the at-fault driver will pay my future medical bills if I have any?
You can try, but in 29 years as a lawyer I have never seen the argument work. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company believes that its driver is at fault and they want to settle the case, they want to settle all personal injury-related claims at one time. (They will usually settle property damage claims seperately.) They will not agree to leave open the issue of future medical expenses.
Thus, if a doctor says you will probably need a future surgery because of the injuries you sustained in the wreck, the cost of that surgery and related damages can be part of settlement negotiations. If the doctor says that future surgery is possible, then the amount of the possible surgery cannot be included. If there is a trial, the court will allow testimony only on whether a future surgery is probable and, if a doctor says it is, then the court will allow presentation of evidence on the cost of the surgery and related damages.
I hasten to add that worker’s compensation cases are different and, in those cases, it is very common that the employer bears the responsibility of paying future medical bills related to the injury even after a settlement or trial. Be sure to ask your worker’s compensation lawyer what responsibility the employer will have for your future medical bills before you accept any settlement proposal.