Case Law Update: Collateral Source Rule - Medical Expense Damages

WDC Journal Edition: December 2001
By: Civil Trial Counsel of Wisconsin

Koffman v. Leichtfuss

___ Wis.2d ___, 630 N.W.2d 201 (2001)

Decided July 12, 2001

The supreme court concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to the reasonable value of the medical services rendered rather than the amount paid by the health insurance carrier in this case. The total amount billed by the plaintiff's health carriers was $187,931.78. The health insurer had reduced contractual rates and was able to satisfy its liability for $62,324.00. There was also a medical payment in the amount of $1,869.15 and the plaintiff paid $1,869.43. The parties stipulated to the reasonableness of the medical bills and the only question for the jury was whether the medical expenses were related to the subject accident. In addition, due to the stipulation, the introduction of evidence as to the amount that was paid by the health insurer was considered a reversible error.

(This decision begs the question as to whether the evidence of the amounts paid by the insurer in this case would be relevant if the parties did not stipulate that the amounts charged by the plaintiff's health care providers were reasonable. - H.G.M.)