When Medical Bills Aren’t The Primary Value Driver

by | Defense Attorney, Kim's Blog

Conventional wisdom suggests a reasonable settlement reflects a certain ratio of medical bills to the resolution amount. Often we hear comments such as, “No one could’ve predicted that the the jury would’ve given him 17 times the meds.”

As part of our daily negotiations, attorneys, adjusters and mediators ask, “What are the meds so far?” This is often a starting point for negotiation and perhaps rightfully so in cases with relatively common injuries and treatment, but how do we evaluate a wide variety of cases with very low special damages?

In a premises liability rape case with an allegation of negligent security and zero meds, it has long been recognized that medical bills are not the value driver. In a motor vehicle accident case in which a plaintiff witnessed the death of a family member and has incurred less than $5,000 in meds for mental health assessment and treatment, it’s really not about the medical bills.

While these are obvious examples of cases in which meds aren’t a primary value driver, there are countless cases coming across our desks with low meds and these can be difficult to evaluate.

The CaseMetrix database enables users to quickly enter multiple search parameters including a medical bills range. This allows you to evaluate every element of your case while directly acknowledging the fact that the meds are seemingly low.

Defense attorneys often utilize the database in this manner to help adjusters readjust reserves and to avoid potential bad faith.

Depending on specific fact patterns and key details, plaintiff attorneys sometimes use the “low meds” element to manage their clients’ expectations. On balance, however, they’ll use the higher verdicts to remind defense counsel of the level of risk in trying such cases.

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