And Now, Speaking on Behalf of Big Insurance, the Texas Supreme Court

By Steve Sanderfer

Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court once again cast its arms around big business and shoved Texans out the door.

Not so long ago, if you were the victim of an accident that resulted in medical bills you could present the total amount of these bills to a jury, even if your insurance had paid the majority of those bills.  This was fair.  After all, one of the elements of damages that you are entitled to is “pain and suffering.”  One way to convey how much pain you suffered is to show the amount of bills you had to pay as a result of the accident.

But that has changed.  The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the only bills you can present to a jury are the ones you still owe.

Let me give you an example.  Let’s say that you are the victim of an accident resulting in medical bills of $100,000.  Let’s further say that you were responsible enough to have medical insurance (which, by the way, you paid dearly for because medical insurance is not cheap).  In our example, your insurance paid $90,000 of your bills and has a lien to get reimbursed for $10,000.

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that the only amount you can present to the jury is $20,000 (the $10,000 left over from the original bill plus the $10,000 insurance lien).  Will $20,000 give the jury an accurate picture of how injured you really were?  No.  So, whatever pain and suffering you would have received is now likely reduced by a large amount.

But let’s take this a step further.  Under this new law, the person who caused the accident, caused you to incur those medical bills, caused you to lose time from work, and caused you the pain and suffering now benefits from YOUR insurance.

Yep, the person who slammed into you AND his insurance company get the benefit of all those premiums that YOU paid.  The bills that person caused are reduced by the insurance you paid for.

It is as if you are being punished for being responsible enough to carry insurance.

And here is a head-scratcher — on one hand, we have the federal government trying to force everyone to buy insurance, and on the other hand, the Texas Supreme Court says, “Yes, but you better never use it in a car accident!”

Excuse me, Texas Supreme Court, but your bias is showing.  Again.

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