Florida personal injury cases can be complex, particularly when it comes to proving damages in cases where bills were already paid through another source. In a recent case before a state supreme court, the court considered whether to admit evidence of the original medical bill amount versus the amount actually paid for the services rendered.
According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured when she slipped and fell on ice at a hotel parking lot. She fractured her wrist and her leg and had to undergo surgery. The hospital billed her more than $135,000, but her medical expenses were paid by Medicare. Medicare paid the providers’ bills by paying around $24,000, at a rate of less than one-fifth of the amount the plaintiff was billed. The plaintiff later sued the hotel for negligence. The hotel argued that the plaintiff could not show her original medical bills as evidence of her damages, and argued that only the amount that Medicaid paid could be admitted as evidence.
The issues before the Alaska Supreme Court were whether the evidence should be limited to the amount paid or whether the amount billed was relevant in assessing the plaintiff’s damages, and whether the difference in amounts was a benefit from a collateral source. The court decided that the original amount billed was relevant as evidence of the value of the medical services. The court considered different approaches and decided that evidence of the amount billed was relevant.
The court also decided that the difference in the amount billed and the amount paid was a benefit from a collateral source and was subject to the collateral source rule. The collateral source rule states that damages cannot be reduced because of payments received by the plaintiff from another source. Therefore, such evidence is generally excluded at trial. However, under Alaska law, a plaintiff’s damages award may be reduced if the plaintiff received compensation for the same injury from collateral sources that do not have a right of subrogation. Thus, in this case, the amount paid was subject to post-trial proceedings for a possible reduction of the damages award.
Florida’s Collateral Source Rule
Under Florida law, the collateral source rule means that an award must be reduced “by the total of all amounts which have been paid for the benefit of the claimant, or which are otherwise available to the claimant, from all collateral sources.” However, there are exceptions to the rule, such as reducing awards for sources that have a right of subrogation or reimbursement.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Florida slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At Friedman, Rodman, & Frank, our personal injury attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience in handling personal injury claims and lawsuits. We are prepared to fight for your right to recover, up to and including trial. Our attorneys have excellent reputations for integrity, skillfulness and vigorous advocacy. Our firm has been helping injured clients for over three decades, and we want to help you too. Contact us toll-free at 877-448-8585 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.