Motor vehicle accident victims often spend a significant amount of time and money traveling to and from medical appointments. This article discusses when and how an accident victim may be able to claim reimbursement for travel-related expenses for treatment related to an accident.
Many accident victims are unaware that they can include and seek compensation for the costs associated with transportation after their accident. Typically, accident victims seek compensation for the costs related to transportation to and from medical appointments by tracking and documenting mileage. Compensation for mileage must be primarily for medical treatment in order to be considered. Travel expenses include the cost of gas but do not include factors such as depreciation of vehicle value, auto insurance costs, and vehicle maintenance expenses. You may also be able to recover amounts paid for parking and tolls related to traveling to and from appointments. If you had to use a taxi or other paid service to travel to appointments, these expenses may be reimbursable if you were unable to drive due to your injuries or your vehicle was still being repaired after the accident.
When calculating miles traveled for compensation, it is important to note that many insurance companies reimburse according to the current IRS standard rate for medical miles driven, which is 19 cents per mile driven in 2016, 17 cents per mile driven in 2017, and 18 cents per mile driven for medical purposes. Calculations are based on information found on the IRS website and the standard rate is adjusted each year.
In order to present a strong claim for travel reimbursement, it is essential that you keep an accurate journal or log of the date and time of your medical visit, the mileage accrued and where you travel to and from. Moreover, it is also a good idea to record what vehicle you are using for travel. This way, it will be easy to create a spreadsheet to present to the insurance company to support your claim for compensation.
If you have not been keeping a record of your mileage, you will still be able to calculate how much you have traveled (at least a close estimation) accrued by using your medical bills and records. These documents will include the dates of billing or dates of treatment, and you can calculate the distance from your home, work or wherever you were traveling to and from on that particular occasion.
When calculating the mileage retroactively, you can use applications such as Google Maps. Enter the location from which you left for your treatment, such as your home or place of work, in the “choose starting point” section located at the top left-hand portion of the screen. Directly below, enter the address you traveled to in order to seek medical treatment for the relevant day in the “choose destination” section.
Do this for each day of medical treatment for which you do not have a record of the mileage you traveled. Additionally, do not forget that you also drove back to work, home, etc., so your calculations should include the return mileage as well. Once, you have calculated the total mileage, multiply the total by IRS standard (17 cents per mile for 2017 rates or 18 cents per mile for 2018) so you can submit an itemization in your demand for compensation. Remember to be as accurate as possible and not to exaggerate the numbers, as insurance adjusters will likely double-check your calculations by using an online service such as Google Maps as well.