Crossgrove plaintiff seeks phantom damages 6x actual cost

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In a case that illustrates the absurdity of last November's Colorado Supreme Court decision to enshrine victims' phantom damages, the same court will hear arguments in Crossgrove v. Walmart.

Larry Crossgrove is a delivery driver who was injured when a garage door at a Walmart facility struck him in the head. He sued Walmart for medical costs of $240,000, plus $100,000 in lost wages. However, the cost of treatment for Mr. Crossgrove was $40,000 — which the trial court allowed as evidence, but a panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled the jury should not have been allowed even to consider.

That's right — the billed amount for Mr. Crossgrove's medical treatment was six times greater than the actual paid cost of care. According to last year's Gardenswartz decision, the state Supreme Court says Mr. Crossgrove is entitled to the $200,000 windfall simply because he had purchased health insurance.

Thanks to the Colorado Senate's party-line vote to kill House Bill 1106, which would have allowed juries to consider both billed and paid amounts, every Colorado resident who buys liability insurance — for their automobile, their business, their property —can expect to see their rates increase to pay for more phantom damages awards.

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