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Calculating Compensation for Medical Expenses in Personal Injury Cases

Seth Harris

Last modified on August 28, 2023

Every day, countless New Yorkers face unexpected accidents, from a slip on an icy sidewalk to a fender-bender on the Brooklyn Bridge. While the immediate shock of an accident can be daunting, the looming medical bills often pose a more lasting concern. Recovering compensation for your medical bills is critical to any personal injury claim, but how do you accurately assess these expenses?

At Harris Keenan & Goldfarb, our New York personal injury attorneys understand the intricacies of calculating compensation for medical expenses in these tricky cases.

Types of Medical Expenses You Can Include in a Personal Injury Claim

Depending on the type of accident and the extent of your injuries, your medical expenses may include a variety of treatments, procedures, doctor’s appointments, hospital stays, and more. Broadly speaking, you can recover compensation for most reasonable, medically necessary treatments, including:

  • Emergency Room Visits: Immediate care right after an accident to address urgent injuries.
  • Hospitalization: Costs related to an extended stay in a hospital for surgery, observation, or intensive care.
  • Doctor’s Appointments: Regular visits to primary care or specialist doctors for evaluations and treatments.
  • Surgeries: Invasive medical interventions to treat severe injuries.
  • Prescription Medications: Medications to manage pain, infections, or other conditions.
  • Physical Therapy: Sessions aimed at helping victims regain physical strength or mobility post-accident.
  • Medical Imaging: Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans to assess internal injuries.
  • Medical Equipment: Items like crutches, wheelchairs, or braces needed for mobility or recovery.
  • Rehabilitation Services: Specialized therapies to assist with longer-term recovery and functionality.
  • Mental Health Counseling: Therapy or counseling sessions addressing the accident’s emotional or psychological impact.

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list. Our New York personal injury attorneys can comprehensively estimate your eligible medical expenses after reviewing your case.

Recovering Compensation for Future or Ongoing Treatments

With help from a dedicated and experienced legal team, you can recover compensation for your ongoing or anticipated medical needs.

You will likely need to rely on expert testimony to build a strong case for future medical expenses. These professionals can evaluate the extent of your injuries, estimate how long your recovery will take, and predict the likelihood that you will require ongoing medical care in the future and the extent of any such care.

With a combination of expert opinions and your medical records as evidence, your attorney can accurately estimate your projected medical costs, considering factors like direct treatment costs and potential inflation in healthcare expenses.

How Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Compensation for Medical Expenses?

Pre-existing conditions are medical issues or ailments that you had before an accident. Think of conditions like arthritis, previous injuries, or chronic illnesses. Insurers and opposing attorneys often scrutinize the medical records for treatment of these conditions, sometimes arguing that the accident wasn’t the sole cause of your current medical needs.

However, this doesn’t mean all is lost if you have a pre-existing condition. A critical legal concept called the “eggshell skull” principle comes into play in these scenarios. The “eggshell skull” rule says that at-fault parties must take the injured person as they find them, pre-existing conditions. In simpler terms, if an accident exacerbates or accelerates a pre-existing condition, the responsible party can’t avoid liability simply because the victim had a prior injury or illness.

To ensure fair compensation, being transparent about your medical history from the outset is paramount. Presenting clear medical evidence that distinguishes the accident’s results from the state of the pre-existing condition is vital. This might include doctors’ evaluations, past and current medical records, and expert testimony.

Proving Your Medical Expenses in a Personal Injury Case

Recovering full compensation for past and future medical expenses in a personal injury case requires strong evidence and a meticulous approach to calculating these costs. Some common types of evidence you and your lawyer can use to substantiate your medical expenses include:

  • Medical Bills
  • Doctor’s Notes and Medical Records
  • Prescription Receipts
  • Expert Medical Testimony
  • Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Records
  • Receipts for Medical Equipment


Medical expenses can add up quickly after an accident, and maximizing compensation for these losses is crucial to maintaining financial stability. The New York personal injury attorneys at Harris Keenan & Goldfarb have recovered more than half a billion dollars for our clients, and we can help you recover full compensation for your medical expenses, too. Call [phone-number linked=true] today or complete our contact form for a free consultation with a skilled personal injury attorney.

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Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What Our Clients Say About Us

arien machicotearien machicote
20:55 17 Jul 24
I must say I am extremely happy and amazed at the incredible work at Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb they were always available if I had any questions and they were always answered with very professionallyJason Steinberg is a great lawyer and I will always highly suggest this law firm and team to anyone out their. Thank you again to everyone at this incredible Firm!!!
Cole ColdwaterCole Coldwater
19:36 20 Jun 24
My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
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14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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