The Cost of Medical Bills at Trial

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, sitting in Boston, Massachusetts, has had a busy week handing down significant case law. The Law Office of Neil Burns reported earlier regarding slip and fall injuries on ice and snow, and the change in the law in evaluating those cases. Also this week, the Court changed how the medical bills of a personal injury plaintiff, someone injured a car accident, for example, are submitted into evidence at trial.
In a significant ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court came down against personal injury plaintiffs in proving damages. In a typical trial, the plaintiff gets his medical bills certified and they are presented to the jury a proof of the costs of medical care. This is pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 233, Section 79G. However, medical bills are usually negotiated by the insurance carrier, such as Harvard Vanguard or Blue Cross, so that the insurance carrier only pays a portion of the bill. This does not typically happen with PIP; Personal Injury Protection insurance from your motor vehicle insurance company.

Under the new court ruling, the defendant may now produce evidence that the bills should have been within a “range” of payments. Thus, in a case with significant medical bills, the defendant can, and likely will, hire an expert to show that the medical bills would only be paid in a lower amount by a typical insurance company.