Scene 1: “I just got rear-ended – I’m OK, just shaken.” Scene 2, days later: “My neck and back really hurt.” So starts a familiar drama in this personal injury case. The defense in this damages-only trial was how much of the medical bills the defendant should pay. The trial court instructed the jury to reduce damages if they found plaintiff had continued expensive treatment though it did not resolve her pain. The court of appeals reversed, finding zero support for the proposition that a plaintiff has an affirmative duty to end treatment if it is expensive and ineffective. Another instruction on the reasonableness and necessity of treatment, which was also given, sufficiently addressed the issue. Addressing evidentiary issues, the court cited Cosgrove for the collateral source rule, and approved admission of evidence of delayed recovery syndrome and previous domestic violence.
Tag Archives: CRS 13-21-111.6
As the healthcare debate rages, a central question is over the actual cost of medical care. Courts also try to determine the reasonable value of medical services provided to an accident victim. That value is either justice for victims or double recovery, depending on your perspective. The collateral source rule, now a statute rather than a common-law doctrine, attempts to balance those competing interests by restricting the evidence considered before a damage award, and then subtracting actual payments after the award. But what evidence should be considered before the award? The amounts billed or the amounts actually paid, or both? A divided Court answered by looking to the collateral source statute, and held the Legislature answered by picking the amount billed, but not actually paid. In this case, the relatively new statute applied prospectively, but pre-verdict.