SB 1528 - Damages for Medical Services
CJAC Position: Oppose
CJAC submitted the letter below in opposition to SB 1528. The aim of this bill is to allow a plaintiff in a personal injury case to obtain a higher amount of damages for medical expenses without regard to the amount that was actually paid. Under current law, the amount of damages is limited to expenses that were actually incurred by the plaintiff and the medical providers. This bill seeks to overturn last year’s California Supreme Court ruling that a plaintiff may only collect the amount that was actually paid by insurers for medical treatment. Medical providers establish negotiated rates of reimbursement with insurance companies that are lower than the retail rate they would charge an uninsured patient who receives medical treatment, and this bill would allow plaintiffs to recover damages at the higher retail rate. Allowing damages for costs that were never incurred will result in an unfair windfall to plaintiffs. SB 1528 would lead to artificially inflated settlements, higher litigation costs, and consumers would foot the bill through higher insurance premiums.