Oregon Case Law Update: Oregon Court of Appeals Reminds Litigants That Medical Bills Alone Do Not Prove That Their Treatment was Reasonable

Oregon Case Law Update: Oregon Court of Appeals Reminds Litigants That Medical Bills Alone Do Not Prove That Their Treatment was Reasonable

From the desk of Brian S. Driscoll: In order to receive compensation for injuries, plaintiffs in negligent personal injury cases must prove their injuries and associated expenses were causally related to the alleged incident and reasonable in amount and cost. The plaintiff’s burden to prove these elements is often the central dispute in personal injury litigation. What if a plaintiff fails to produce any evidence at trial that his medical expenses were reasonable? Can the plaintiff still recover those medical expenses? Read on to find out.

Case Pointer: In this personal injury lawsuit arising from a stabbing, the defendant’s motion to strike plaintiff’s claim for medical expenses was denied at trial, even though plaintiff failed to produce any evidence that his medical expenses were reasonable. Citing century old case law, the Oregon Court of Appeals determined that the plaintiff’s failure to provide evidence of the reasonableness of his medical expenses meant that the trial court should have granted defendant’s motion to strike. Further finding that defendant made no judicial admission that plaintiff’s medical expenses were reasonable, the appeals court reversed and remanded to the trial court for further consideration.

Martinez v. Delgado-Galban, 296 Or App 659 (Mar. 8, 2019).

In a somewhat unique personal injury lawsuit, plaintiff was “cut by a knife wielded by defendant” and sustained injuries that required medical treatment consisting of three separate visits to an emergency room. Plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging assault and battery and seeking compensation for pain and suffering as well as the expenses incurred from the three emergency room visits. At trial, plaintiff presented copies of the bills that he had been sent by the emergency room. Additionally, plaintiff called a medical expert witness to...

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