22 Feb 2021

By Jeffrey S. Lasswell, PC

In Personal Injury

If you were injured in a car accident, slip and fall, or other type of personal injury, you may be able to recover compensation for the full value of the damages you suffer. But how is the full value calculated? If you incur medical expenses and are liable for the bills, do you receive the amount you were billed or the total value of the services you received? And how does insurance affect this issue?

Below, we answer these questions. We hope the following information will help you better understand Colorado’s collateral source rule and how much compensation you may be able to recover for the medical expense portion of your claim. Our dedicated Colorado Springs personal injury attorney is available to discuss this issue further during a free consultation. He can explain the nuances in medical payments and which figures might be involved in a final settlement or verdict. Contact Jeffrey Scott Lasswell, PC online or by phone to get started. 

Recovery of Medical Expenses in Personal Injury Cases

If you are injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, Colorado law allows you to seek compensation for the “reasonable value’ of your injuries. A large portion of your claim may be based on the medical expenses you incurred due to the injuries that stem from the accident.

Colorado’s personal injury laws favor plaintiffs on the issue of medical expenses and the amount paid v amount billed.

Insurance and Medical Billing Issues

The insurance process can be complicated. There may be different charges for the same service, depending on whether you have insurance, which type of insurance you have, and the specific agreement your insurance provider has with the medical provider.

Under Colorado law, if you are a personal injury victim, you are allowed to seek compensation for the full value of the medical service you received, even if you were billed a smaller amount. Additionally, Colorado’s collateral source rule says that the defendant cannot present evidence to a jury that you were billed a smaller amount and that your insurance covered part of it. Additionally, defendants cannot present evidence that you paid a smaller amount to settle the claim with the medical provider.

Here’s an example of how all this works and how it helps your case:

Say that you had to go to the emergency room after an accident. The value of the services you received there were $15,000. Your insurance covered $10,000 of the expense, leaving you with $5,000 of a balance. You negotiated with the hospital to pay $4,000 and it accepted.

Under Colorado’s laws, you would be able to seek damages of $15,000, the value of the services you received from the hospital. This is true even though you only had to pay $4,000 out of pocket.

Other jurisdictions aren’t as generous and only allow plaintiffs to recover the amount they actually paid out-of-pocket or the amount that they still owed after their insurance covered the rest.

These rules allow you to potentially increase the amount of money you can recover for the medical expenses portion of your claim. Additionally, they may help other aspects of your claim. For example, juries or insurance adjusters sometimes base pain and suffering damages off of the amount of your medical expenses. So, if your medical expenses are higher, your pain and suffering damages might also be higher. 

Have More Questions? Contact Personal Injury Lawyer Jeffrey S. Lasswell Today

The collateral source rule in Colorado is a complex legal principle. If you are concerned about how medical bills may affect your claim, contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in Colorado Springs. Jeffrey Scott Lasswell used to work for insurance companies, so he knows how adjusters operate. He is now fighting for the rights of injury victims. Give us a call or contact Jeffrey Scott Lasswell, PC online to take advantage of your free consultation.