Person’s injured as a result of someone else’s negligence scored a huge victory with the Colorado Supreme Court in 2010, in the case of Volunteers of America Colorado Branch vs. Gardenswartz, No. 09SC20 (November 15, 2010). In this decision the Supreme Court considered whether a successful party may recover the full amount of the medical expenses incurred or may only recover the discounted amount paid by a third-party insurance company. After considering all the issues the Supreme Court concluded that the prevailing party is entitle to recover the full amount of the billed medical expenses despite the fact that a lesser amount was actually paid for these expenses. The court reasoned that a negligent party should not benefit from the fact that an injured party had insurance and should be responsible for the reasonable value of all bills regardless of the amount paid.
The practical affect of this decision is that injured parties are going to net more money for their injuries because they will be compensated an amount which is higher than what was actually paid for expenses. In the past some injured parties would receive very little in compensation as a large amount of the money would go to medical expenses and the settlements would only account for the amount paid in medical expenses not the amount incurred. Typically the amount billed is much larger than the amount which is actually paid pursuant to a contracted rate with the health insurance company. Therefore, we are very optimistic that 2011 should be a better year for injury victims and the amount they see in their pockets when resolving negligence cases.
Please continue to follow our blog for updates in the law and information that will help those that have been injured by others.