Collateral Source Bill Passes Committee

Companion bills, Assembly Bill 539/Senate Bill 405, introduced by Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Representative Mike Kuglitsch (R-New Berlin), would allow evidence of payments to be submitted as evidence in personal injury or underinsured motorist cases when a jury must decide on the reasonable value of a claim.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety passed SB 405, as adopted by an amendment, with a vote of 3-2. The bill is available for scheduling in the Senate. The Assembly Committee on Judiciary held a public hearing, but has not held a vote on the bill. The amendment included a 30-day delayed effective date in the bill.

Under current law, defendants are not allowed to introduce evidence of payments made to the plaintiff by third parties (collateral sources), except in medical malpractice cases, when determining the “reasonable value” of the medical expenses.

The bill allows the admission of evidence of collateral source payments for rebutting the presumption that billing statements and invoices that are patient health care records state the reasonable value of the health care services provided to the injured person.

Supporters say allowing a jury to see paid amounts and billed amounts for the health care provided provide an actual reasonable value of medical services. Opponents argue that proper damages will not be given to plaintiffs and the legislation will cause medical premiums to rise.