Missouri bill addresses concern about certain civil actions

February 22, 2022

Keith Goble


A Missouri House bill addresses concern about civil actions with lawyers and doctors who sometimes collude on incidents that can involve a large truck.

The House Special Committee on Litigation Reform voted today to advance a bill to change the rule for determining the admissibility of evidence of collateral source payments in civil actions.

Sponsored by Rep. Alex Riley, R-Springfield, HB1715 would prohibit any party from introducing evidence of the amount billed for medical treatment if the amount has been “discounted, written-off, or satisfied by payment of an amount less than the amount billed.”

The actual cost of medical care or treatment rendered and discounts would be admissible evidence relevant to the potential cost of future treatment.

Riley told the committee on Feb. 17 that if a plaintiff who has filed a personal injury case has received medical treatment where they received a price reduction at the medical facility the “sticker price,” or full amount not charged, could not go into evidence at trial.

“What gets to go into evidence is that amount that the medical facility accepts to satisfy the cost of care. The reason for that is simple: The sticker price number is frankly meaningless. It has no meaning whatsoever, because no one’s on the hook for that,” Riley said.

He added that it is problematic to allow plaintiffs to go into court and say they’ve sustained monetary damages in an amount that they have not.

“That they can use this frankly meaningless number to artificially inflate their damages at trial, that’s patently, fundamentally, unfair.”

Truckers back bill

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Missouri Trucking Association support HB1715.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, has communicated to the bill sponsor the Association supports the bill because when large trucks are involved in a wreck, “there is sometimes a level of collusions between lawyers and doctors to increase the cost of medical care and ultimately the payouts they receive.”

“Trial lawyers will instruct their clients to select doctors that will avoid filing a claim under their respective insurance plan, which then allows doctors to seek reimbursement for medical care without any plan discounts that would otherwise apply,” Matousek wrote.

The action amounts to trial lawyers and doctors treating insured people as uninsured people “simply because they can milk the system for larger insurance payouts.”

The bill awaits further consideration in the House. LL

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