Florida is lucky to have a lot of tourists who come here to enjoy our beaches, visit Disneyworld or the races at the Daytona 500. Sometimes these tourists get into an accident and can’t drive home with the rest of their family. They have to get an airplane ticket.
So the question is: Who pays for the ticket? Does the at fault party have to pay for the airplane ticket so the tourist can fly home? No. If the victim has to travel somewhere to get specialized medical treatment, like going to a burn unit, then I would say yes. However, the law of damages does not allow for transportation just to go home.
Another common question that comes up in litigation is whether travel expenses by the client to attend depositions, court proceedings or mandatory medical examinations by the defense doctor is reimbursable? No. But if the victim is incurring expenses to go back and forth to therapy, doctors visits or a drug store to pick up prescriptions, Yes.
The courts have certain rules regarding “costs” of litigation. Florida is like most states and does not allow attorneys to charge (the adversary) for their travel costs and travel time. However, clients have to pay the costs. Some attorneys are more prudent than others when it comes to travel expenses. Some go First Class, stay in the nicest places and spend extra time on the road.
I suggest you get a clear understanding with your lawyer about his out of pocket expenses so you will know what discretionary charges he is incurring. Some lawyers subcontract medical records review and legal research to others. It is called “outsourcing.” In fact, some research is even sent to India for medical reviews.
In medical malpractice and products liability cases the lawyer will likely incur $100,000 in expenses. He will have to eat the expenses if he loses the case, so he will want to make sure the case is big enough to justify those expenses. That explains why attorneys are careful about taking some cases and turn down others.