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Recovering Medical Expenses for Personal Injuries or Wrongful Death and the Collateral Source Statute – Your Indianapolis, Indiana Auto, Motorcycle and Trucking Accident Lawyer

Indiana’s Collateral Source Statute bars over-recovery for medical billsCall Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501

Under Indiana law, the driver who is at fault for the injuries of another has a duty to pay for the injured party’s “reasonable” and “necessary” medical bills. But what is considered “reasonable and necessary?”

One method of proving reasonability is by introducing into evidence, the statement of charges for injuries received as a result of the accident from the health care provider. Indiana Evidence Rule 413 provides that such statements are admissible as evidence and “shall constitute prima facie evidence that the charges are reasonable.”

Indiana’s Collateral Source Statute prevents the Plaintiff from over-recovery—or recovering more than once—for a monetary loss sustained from personal injury or wrongful death.

IC 34-44-1 provides for allowing into evidence the following:

  • Proof of collateral source payments (i.e. medical payments made by health insurance providers or workers compensation for the benefit of the plaintiff)
  • Proof of the amount of money that the plaintiff is required to repay
  • Proof of the cost to the plaintiff or to members of the plaintiff’s family of collateral benefits received by the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s family

Exceptions to the collateral source rule include: life insurance or other death benefits, insurance benefits or premiums plaintiff or plaintiff’s family have paid for directly, or payments made by any agency, instrumentality, or subdivision of the state or the United States, i.e. defendant may not lessen their financial obligation for damages by introducing into evidence Plaintiff’s medical billing discounts or discounts provided to plaintiff as a benefit to the insured by the contract established between their health insurance carrier and their health provider. Americanbar.org states the following:

Indiana retains the common law principle that collateral source payments should not reduce a damage award if the payment resulted from the plaintiff’s own forethought, such as insurance purchased by the plaintiff or government benefits that the plaintiff has paid for through taxes.

Ward & Ward is a plaintiff’s law firm experienced in protecting the interests of personal injury victims and wrongful death claims. If you have been injured in an automobile, motorcycle, bicycle or trucking accident, I urge you to call me at 317-639-9501 for a free consultation at your earliest convenience.

Charlie Ward

[email protected]

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 639-9501

Where do Injured Parties Look When the Limits of Your Motorcycle Policy are Exhausted?

Motorcyclists should carefully assess their motorcycle bodily injury & liability portion of their insurance policy

There’s no doubt that the rising cost in fuel is throttling the motorcycle industry. Sales were up 7.2% in the first quarter of 2011 so says the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Retail Sales Report. These increased motorcycles on the road have resulted in increased injuries and fatalities. According to the Indiana State Police, the total number of collisions involving motorcycles increased in the year 2010 nearly 5% over 2009. Last year there were 3,721 motorcycle accidents reported — 2,712 injuries including operators and passengers—and 110 fatalities (100 operators and 10 passengers.) The average age of motorcycle fatalities—40.9 years old.

These statistics are dismal but as more people take their hogs to the road—as a necessary form of transportation or for the pure pleasure of riding the highway—the enthusiast should have in place a sound motorcycle policy adequate to cover any medical injuries and or deaths that could occur as a result of an accident.

The Declarations page of your motorcycle policy outlines your coverages and the insurance company’s limits of liability. It reads very similar to your automobile policy. Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability covers a maximum amount per person and a maximum total amount which will be paid per accident. For example: a $100,000/$300,000 policy coverage means an injured party could potentially receive up to but no more than $100,000 for injuries to their person but no more than $300,000 could be recovered by the total number of persons injured in the accident. That is, if a carload of people were injured in an accident which was determined to be caused by you as the operator of your motorcycle, your insurance company would not pay more, in this instance, than $300,000 total for injuries and or deaths which occurred.

If a string of cars and/or motorcycles were involved in an accident, such is often seen in freeway pile-ups, and it was deemed to be a result of your actions, more than likely $300,000 would not be sufficient to cover the medical expenses and wrongful death suits which could follow. That’s why it’s so important to balance your liability needs with your assets. In other words, where would injured victims look for compensation after your insurance policy limits were exhausted? Many learn this lesson the hard way—after the fact. Many consumers don’t realize that the price of coverage per unit goes down as the amount of coverage goes up. In other words, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.

As more people take to the road using alternative forms of transportation, I think we can unfortunately expect to see motorcycle accidents rise. Get the coverage you need. And discuss your existing policy with your personal injury lawyer. Ward & Ward Law Firm lawyers can help you assess your policy needs.

Charlie Ward

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
(317) 639-9501
(888) 316-3449
www.wardlawfirm.com