Judiciary Committee Approves Trial-Attorney Bill

04.05.2012
Issues & Policies

At its deadline this week, the legislature’s Judiciary Committee approved several measures of interest to Connecticut’s business community.

Final language (including amendments) on some bills was not yet available, but one proposal in particular is harmful in that it needlessly raises litigation costs.

Wrongful cost-raising

HB 5455 irresponsibly increases damage awards and trial attorney fees in lawsuits. The billdrastically expands the scope of “reasonable and necessary” costs allowed as evidence in personal injury and wrongful death actions.

Under HB 5545, judges and juries in personal injury and wrongful death cases will hear evidence of all medical bills charged by healthcare providers rather than the actual amount of bills paid to establish the value of the claim.

Healthcare providers often charge insurers and self-insurers based on highly inflated estimates of patients’ medical bills from a variety of factors not always related to actual medical treatment.

Once those charges are billed, medical providers and insurers, or lawyers for the injured party, negotiate that amount to reflect what is actually paid. This negotiation is at the heart of insurance reimbursement and it controls health system costs for everyone.

This bill, however, would discard that control to advantage trial attorneys and their clients.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860.244.1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.

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