This change in the law could give a jury the wrong impression regarding the severity of your injuries.
In 2012, the CDC reported that there were over 2.5 million Americans seen in the emergency room due to car collisions. Each hospital visit costs the patient an average of $3,300. If they are admitted, that cost can escalate to $60,000 or more. Due to these increasing figures, policies continue to change.
In August of last year, there was a change to personal injury law that has the potential to dramatically affect what you are entitled to collect in damage compensation if you are in a car accident in Missouri. Due to the change in medical expenses in personal injury law, an injured person will only be granted compensation for what the hospital has been paid and for any remaining hospital charges. If a case should go to trial, the jury cannot hear how much the original bill was before the hospital was paid through insurance.
How Can a Bill Affect How Much You Are Entitled To?
Often, the total price of what someone’s injury is worth according to billing is a fraction of what the original bill was. Since insurance companies and hospitals will usually negotiate the cost of the visit or hospital stay, what is actually paid is usually significantly different than what the bill originally stated.
Why Does It Matter?
If you are in an accident and you don’t use your health insurance (if you have any) to pay for your hospital visit, then it won’t affect what you are entitled to at all. If, however, you are insured and your health insurance pays for the cost of your treatment, then you aren’t going to be able to recover the full amount of what was charged via a lawsuit. You are only going to get the amount that actually came out of your pocket for your medical expenses.
Why the Change?
The change in the law was a shot at trying to reduce large sum payments for economic damages. Economic damages are those damages that are related to what a person actually loses financially due to their injuries. Before the change, a person was entitled to the full amount of what the original bill of the hospital totaled. Now it is reduced to what was actually paid by the patient. This could give a jury the impression that the injuries are not as severe as they actually are.