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Transfer granted in write-offs case

October 1, 2008

The Indiana Supreme Court granted transfer yesterday to a case of first impression involving write-offs and insurance benefits.

In Brandon Stanley v. Danny Walker, No. 41A01-0610-CV-462, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled write-offs constitute insurance benefits for which an insured has paid directly, so opposing parties in suits can't introduce evidence of write-offs to reduce damages.

Brandon Stanley and Danny Walker were involved in a car accident in which Walker was seriously injured. The gross charges of his medical bills were later adjusted downward by write-offs negotiated by his insurance company.

While at trial for a complaint against him filed by Walker, Stanley made an offer of proof on the total of Walker's medical bills to show the amount of the write-offs Walker received. The trial court sustained Walker's objection, citing Indiana's collateral source statute.

The appellate court decided Walker should be able to reap the benefits of the write-offs because he paid his insurance premiums.

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