[The bill discussed in this blog did not pass. If you have further questions on this topic, please contact the attorneys at Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC by calling (866) 617-4736 or by using our online contact form.]
Senate Bill 197 was introduced by Senator Tom Takubo on February 8, 2017, and was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The bill would amend and reenact § 57-5-5j of the West Virginia Code, and serve to exclude certain medical care amounts from compensatory damage awards. Specifically, the bill would prevent damage awards for medical expenses that the claimant has not - and will not - pay for medical care or treatment.
The bill would also limit evidence of future medical expenses to only those sums necessary for any future necessary and reasonable health care services or treatment, and abrogate the common law collateral source rule. "The collateral source rule excludes payments from other sources to plaintiffs from being used to reduce damage awards imposed upon culpable defendants." Syl. Pt. 11, Ilosky v. Michelin Tire Corp., 172 W.Va. 435, 307 S.E.2d 603 (1983). Finally, the bill would overrule the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia's decision in Kenney v. Liston, in which the Court held that the collateral source rule protects the amounts discounted from a plaintiff's medical bill or written off by a medical provider. Kenney v. Liston, 233 W. Va. 620, 630, 760 S.E.2d 434, 444 (2014).