Lampe v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. (Future Medical Expenses)

In Lampe v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. (2019AP656), the Court of Appeals District I found insufficient evidence for a jury award of future health care expenses to a plaintiff injured in a car accident.

Plaintiff Brian Lampe was injured in a car accident and sued the other driver and his insurer State Farm. The parties entered into a stipulation that the other driver’s negligence caused Lampe’s injuries, so the only question left at trial was the damages owed to Lampe.

At trial, the jury awarded Lampe $175,000, including $45,000 in future health care expenses. On appeal, State Farm argued there was insufficient evidence for the jury to award any future health care expenses to Lampe.

The appeals court agreed with State Farm and reversed the trial court award of future health care expenses. Awards of future health care expenses must be supported by expert testimony that future treatment is required and testimony on the cost of such treatment. The court found that expert testimony provided by Lampe failed to establish the cost of future treatment.

Although Lampe’s expert physician acknowledged Lampe might need future pain treatment, the physician did not specify the actual cost of the treatment nor how many treatments would be necessary. The court rejected Lampe’s argument that the jury could have calculated cost of future treatment based on Lampe’s past medical bills. Therefore, the jury had no basis on which to award future health care expenses.