The Tyler Court of Appeals recently held that evidence of medical expenses billed by medical providers is legally insufficient evidence of the amount of expenses "actually paid or incurred." Plaintiff sued the defendant for injuries sustained in an auto accident. Prior to trial, the plaintiff filed a motion to exclude any evidence of reductions, insurance payments, or other "evidence of collateral sources." At trial, the plaintiff introduced evidence of medical expenses billed by medical providers in the amount of $110,069.12. The defendant was not allowed to rebut this evidence with evidence of reductions even though it was undisputed that the amount of expenses actually paid after reductions was $14,482.02. The jury found for plaintiff and awarded damages in the full amount requested by the plaintiff. The defendant moved for jnov arguing the plaintiff had offered no evidence on the correct measure of damages. The trial court denied defendant’s motion and entered judgment on the jury’s verdict.
On appeal, the court held that CPRC sec. 41.0105 "not only limits the amount of damages recoverable, but also affects the relevance of evidence offered to prove damages." The court further held that medical bills reflecting only the amount "initially incurred" are irrelevant and should be excluded at trial. Consequently, the court held that the improperly admitted medical bills were legally insufficient evidence of the amount actually paid or incurred by the plaintiff. However, because the medical bills constituted more than a scintilla of evidence to support at least some of the damages and the amount actually incurred was undisputed, the court suggested a remittitur in the proper amount amount of damages. The court’s opinion in Escabedo v. Haygood can be found at this link.