Florida 2nd DCA limits introduction of Past Medical Expenses to the amount paid my Medicare

January 20, 2021 |

On December 11, 2020, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court's order prohibiting the plaintiff from entering into evidence the entire medical bills incurred for the alleged negligence claim to only those amounts paid by Medicare.  

In Dial v. Calusa Palms Master Association, Inc., 2021 WL 7310767, the Court reaffirmed its prior 2004 holding in Cooperative Leasing, Inc. v. Johnson, 872 So. 2d 956, 960 (Fla. 2d DCA 2004) and clarified that the Florida Supreme Court's subsequent holding in Joerg v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 176 So. 3d 1247 (Fla. 2015) did not implicitly abrogate its prior holding.

In Second District Court of Appeal's 2004 holding, the Court held "that the appropriate measure of compensatory damages for past medical expenses when a plaintiff has received Medicare benefits does not include the difference between the amount the Medicare providers agreed to accept and the total amount of the plaintiff's medical bills. The trial court should have granted the appellant's motion in limine and prohibited Johnson from introducing the full amount of her medical bills into evidence." 

At the end of opinion, the Second District Court of Appeal certified the following question to the Florida Supreme Court: "Does the holding in Joerg v. Statement Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 176 So. 3d 1247 (Fla. 2015), prohibiting the introduction of evidence of Medicare benefits in a personal injury case for purposes of a jury's consideration of future medical expenses also apply to past medical expenses?" Until the Florida Supreme Court answers the question, the answer is it does not and a motion in limine is the proper vehicle to exclude the amounts beyond what Medicare paid from introduction into evidence.

This is a great ruling in favor of Florida defendants that will hopefully assist in reigning in higher jury verdicts and settlements. Make sure you are not over valuing a case or missing an opportunity to file a motion in limine to prevent the total amount of medical from being introduced at trial. The attorneys at Andrews, Crabtree, Knox & Longfellow are prepared to defend you and your business. They keep up with the current state of the law in the jurisdictions where they practice. 

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