Authors: Carmen Cox
(SAN DIEGO) -- The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of insurers Thursday in a case that promises to impact the legal landscape of medical damage civil suits.
In Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, the court voted 6-1 in favor of restricting whether an injured party can recover full medical costs billed by doctors and hospitals. The court ruled an accident victim can only recoup the discounted figures the victim's insurer negotiates with health care providers.
Rebecca Howell, injured when a Hamilton Meats truck made an illegal turn and slammed into her car, was seeking the full $190,000 in hospital fees billed to the insurer. However, the court overruled a previous decision in the case that limited her to the $60,000 the hospitals agreed to bill to her insurer.
While the decision is being hailed as a victory for insurance companies and business groups, it is seen as a devastating ruling to consumer rights and personal injury lawyers.
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