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Victims Can Recover All Of Their Medical Bills

In a recent decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held that Illinois would follow the "reasonable value" rule in deciding how much an injured person could recover for medical care received.

The case involved an elderly man who was badly injured in a car accident. His doctors billed him for more than $80,000 for treatment. However, those bills were settled for just $19,000, because his treatment was paid for by Medicaid and Medicare. At trial, the jury awarded the man $80,000 for his medical bills, but the trial court reduced his recovery to $19,000, the amount actually paid. The court of appeals affirmed this result, but the supreme court reversed.

Looking at cases from around the country, the court found that most states follow the reasonable value rule, which allows injured persons to recover the reasonable value of the medical care they receive, regardless of what is actually paid for the care. Reducing recovery to the amount actually paid would give a negligent defendant the benefit of contracts entered into by others, such as when a doctor agrees to accept less from Medicare than from a private patient. The court ruled that defendants should not be allowed to benefit by such arrangements, whether they be the plaintiff's own insurance or government-provided coverage like Medicaid and Medicare.

This case, which clarified Illinois law on this point, allows the injured to be fully compensated for their losses, and prevents defendants from receiving a "windfall" if the person they injure happens to be insured.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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