Collateral Source Rule Still Undecided
Karen Martinez sustained injuries when she slipped and fell while shopping at defendant’s business. She suffered a back injury which required surgery and treatment causing her to incur medical bills totaling $70,498.15. Her private health insurance company, Coventry Health Systems, satisfied the $70,498.15 with payment of $5,310.00 pursuant a preferred provider agreement.
Defendant filed a motion in limine to prevent plaintiff from submitting evidence of medical expenses in excess of the contracted charges actually paid by the Plaintiff’s private health insurance policy, thereby limiting Plaintiff’s recovery of medical expenses to those amounts actually paid by her private health insurance. The district court granted Defendant’s motion relying on Bates v. Hogg, 22 Kan App. 2d 702 (1996) and two unpublished appellate court decisions [Liberty v. Westwood United Super Inc., No. 89,143, 2005 WL 1006363 and Fischer v. Farmers Insurance Co., Inc., No. 90,246, WL 400404] that extended Bates to Medicare and private insurance and ruled that plaintiff could only present evidence of the amount paid by her health insurance carrier and ac- cepted by the medical provider as payment in full. The ruling prompted Plaintiff to make application for per- mission to take an interlocutory appeal. The request was granted. The case was later transferred to the Kansas Supreme Court. [Martinez v. Milburn Enterprises, Case No. 08-100865] sua sponte by the Court of Appeals.
Briefs were filed by the parties with amicus curaie briefs being submitted by Kansas Association For Justice and Kansas Association of Defense Counsel. The matter was argued before the Kansas Supreme Court on March 24, 2009. As of this date, no decision has been issued.
The decision in the case will finally put to rest this unsettled issue that impacts almost every personal injury case filed in the State of Kansas. Furthermore, courts in various districts of Kansas which have taken opposite positions on the issue will finally have firm guidance. Watch for this important decision to come down soon!