Proving the amount of damages arising out of a car accident, such as medical expenses, can become complicated when insurance coverage is involved. A personal injury lawyer understands the proof necessary to establish these damages and can present evidence persuasively on your behalf. Recently, a November 17, 2017 case before the Supreme Court of Tennessee provided further insight regarding the admissibility of evidence of insurance discounts to rebut the plaintiff’s proof of damages in a Tennessee car accident case.
The plaintiff in the case was seriously injured in an automobile accident with the defendant and suffered severe and permanent injuries. She filed a lawsuit against the defendant to recover her past and future medical bills. Before trial, the defendants filed a motion to prevent the plaintiff from presenting evidence of her full, undiscounted medical bills. Due to the common practice of hospitals and medical providers billing patients for medical services in full and then accepting a discounted amount from the patient’s private insurance company, the undiscounted bills sent to the patient do not reflect what is actually being paid in the marketplace. The defendants argued that the plaintiff’s undiscounted medical bills were, therefore, unreasonable by law and that the amount paid by the insurance company should be used instead. The trial court granted the motion. After the Court of Appeals reversed, the issue was taken up by the Supreme Court of Tennessee.
In Tennessee, a person who is injured by another person’s negligence may recover damages from the other person for all past, present, and prospective harm. The burden is on the plaintiff to prove their damages. At issue on appeal were the plaintiff’s past medical expenses. For this type of award, the plaintiff must prove that the medical bills incurred because of the defendant’s negligence were both necessary and reasonable.