One of the most common refrains we hear from clients is that they want the at-fault party to pay for their medical bills. This is obvious and understandable. Medical care can be incredibly expensive and exorbitant bills for treatment made necessary by an injury can quickly create financial hardship, especially those who are uninsured or under-insured. However, when trying to resolve injury cases, insurance companies frequently offer settlement amounts less than the charges for the medical care caused by their insured’s negligence. This is a mystery to most people who encounter it, but it is rooted in the current state of the law in Illinois.
Illinois law requires the injured party to present evidence showing that medical charges are “reasonable” before the court will admit those amounts into evidence. If you have health insurance or Medicare, and you have looked over your medical bills, you will notice a substantial difference between the charges for the services provided and what was actually paid for those services. The difference is usually due to contractual “adjustments” between the health insurance company and the medical provider. At trial, the injured party would have to present evidence that the full medical charges were fair, usual and customary to get the entire billed amount into evidence. Otherwise, just the amount that was actually paid would be given to the jury as damages, because only paid medical bills are presumed to be reasonable under the law.
Your attorney can help you address this issue in one of several ways, ranging from requests to admit and stipulations, to calling billing custodians or hiring a medical billing expert to testify at trial. This is an evolving area of the law and there are many factors to consider in how to approach this issue, making it essential to consult an experienced injury attorney for guidance.
The attorneys at Walsh, Knippen & Cetina, Chartered have assisted hundreds of clients obtain maximum compensation for their injuries, including ensuring that their medical bills are paid and resolved.
Please give us a call or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.