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Scott McDonald and Associates PLLC

I'm on a jury for a personal injury case. Are all medical bills covered by insurance?

In Washington, as in most states, evidence about whether or not a plaintiff’s medical bills have been paid by insurance is kept from a jury during a trial. There are many reasons for this law.  Sometimes, however, juries attempt to account for the fact that insurance has paid the medical bills and adjust their award accordingly.

If you are on a jury in a personal injury case you should not do this. The reason is that insurance is not simple and different insurance "rules" may apply to the claims at hand. In most cases the plaintiff has to pay back her insurance company out of any award, so she really was not insured at all! Almost all insurance policies require the injured person to pay back any amount the company paid for the medical bills if the plaintiff wins her lawsuit.

Insurance policies differ and not every insurance policy requires this type of reimbursement. What the courts have done, however, to make the issue fair for everyone, is to simply take insurance out of the consideration of the jury.

If you're a juror please don't discount a plaintiff's damage award because you think the medical bills have already been paid. In almost all of my cases my clients have to repay the insurance company that paid the medical bills. Insurance companies would love this to happen, but it really only hurts the injury victim.

If you're called for jury duty please go. The justice system in Washington and all other states depends on citizens showing up for jury duty when called. I know it’s a pain and you get paid peanuts, but I need you and my clients need you. We need jurors like you to fight the greed of the insurance companies that force their customers to file lawsuits to get the insurance benefits owed.