It is often asked whether a Plaintiff may introduce the gross amount of his or her past medical bills into evidence in a personal injury trial? The simple answer is it depends. In cases where past medical expenses were paid by private health insurance, the Court in Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. V. Harrell held that the Plaintiff would be permitted to introduce the gross amount of his/her medical bills into evidence where those bills were paid by private health insurance.
Regarding past medical bills paid by Medicare, the Florida Supreme Court, in the case of Dial v. Calusa Palms Master Assoc., Inc., held that a Plaintiff may only introduce into evidence the amount of his/her past medical expenses to the extent that those expenses had been paid by Medicare and not the gross amount of the bills before Medicare reduced them. For the time being, the Florida Supreme Court appears to have standardized the way that past medical expenses involving Medicare, should be handled in Courts throughout the state. This ruling is a victory for the Defense position because by only presenting Medicare fee schedule damages to a jury arguably under-emphasizes the amount of medical treatment a Plaintiff was forced to undergo and can flatten the jury’s award of pain and suffering damages.
As for future medical expenses, the holding of Joerg v. State Farm is still the prevailing case and holds that the defense is not entitled to introduce into evidence that the Plaintiff would be receiving Medicare or other benefits in the future and therefore the Plaintiff is entitled to introduce evidence of anticipated future medical expenses without reduction for anticipated future Medicare or other benefits. In other words, the full amount of the Plaintiff’s anticipated future medical expenses comes into evidence for consideration by the jury.
If you have a legal question regarding Medicare billing issues related to a personal injury litigation, please feel free to contact Spinner Law Firm at your convenience.