Banker Law Group, P.C. recently won a Supreme Court decision that overturned evidence restrictions affecting some of Alaska's most vulnerable populations.
We asked the Alaska Supreme Court to consider the justice of not allowing elderly, disabled, and poor tort victims to present evidence of the actual cost of care required to address injuries they have suffered. The rule of law is that the actual cost of care is important for a jury to consider when coming up with an appropriate judgment for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and inconvenience caused by the injuries. Elderly, disabled, and poor people typically have hospital and medical care paid by Medicaid or Medicare – which pays only a small fraction of the bill.
The Casualty Insurance Association of America hired lawyers to make a special appearance (Pro Hac Vice) to submit their own arguments to the Supreme Court. In effect, they lobbied for a rule that a retiree or disabled person can only present evidence of $10,000 for care while a well insured (or completely uninsured) person could discuss $100,000 – for the same care and same injury.
If the amount billed by medical providers has an effect on a jury in its consideration of pain and suffering, is it fair to:
- Allow those with no insurance to discuss the 100% of the bill;
- Allow the well-insured to discuss 70-90% of the bill; and
- Restrict the elderly, disabled, and poor to discussing 10% of the amount billed?
The Alaska Supreme Court in our case, Weston v AKHappytime, LLC, d/b/a Alex Hotel & Suites, agreed with us and overturned the ruling of exclusion from the Superior Court. Now, our client will be able to use the same evidence that anyone else would be able to present.
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another person, schedule a free consultation with our attorneys through our contact form or by calling (907) 222-2999.