Calif. Supreme Court To Review Personal Injury Insurance Settlements
The California Supreme Court has agreed to review a case that could change the way accident victims receive compensation for medical costs from the party that caused the injury, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Currently, when an accident victim's insurer settles medical bills at discounted rates, the injured individual is entitled to recover only the discounted amount from the responsible party.
However, in November the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that an injured person can collect the full cost of treatment from the at-fault party, regardless of what rate the injured person's insurer actually paid.
The ruling involved Rebecca Howell, a California woman who incurred $190,000 in medical bills after being hit by a Hamilton Meats & Provisions truck driver. The facilities that treated Howell agreed to accept $60,000 from her insurer. When Howell sued Hamilton Meats, the trial judge said she was entitled to recoup only $60,000 from the company.
However, in a 3-0 ruling, the appellate court said the discount was "a direct result of [Howell's] own thrift and foresight in procuring private health insurance" and that Hamilton Meats and its insurer should pay the entire $190,000.
The case now will go before the state Supreme Court.Attorneys sayÂ theÂ forthcoming rulingÂ could affect settlements for personal injury cases, jury verdicts and appeals (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/13). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.