EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Indiana's Rule of Evidence 413 and Medical Expenses

Indiana has a unique rule of evidence: Indiana Rule of Evidence 413. Indiana Rule of Evidence 413 provides that

Statements of charges for medical, hospital or other health care expenses for diagnosis or treatment occasioned by an injury are admissible into evidence. Such statements are prima facie evidence that the charges are reasonable.

The purpose of this Rule can be found in the opinion of the Supreme Court of Indiana in Cook v. Whitsell-Sherman, 796 N.E.2d 271 (Ind. 2003), where the court held that

The purpose of Rule 413 is to provide a simpler method of proving amount of medical expenses when there is no substantial issue that they are reasonable and were caused by the tort. If there is a dispute, of course the party opposing them may offer evidence to the contrary, including expert opinion. By permitting medical bills to serve as prima facie proof that the expenses are reasonable, the rule eliminates the need for testimony on that often uncontested issue. Finally, the fact that a statement was submitted is at least some evidence that the charge is normal for the treatment involved, and it was necessary to be performed. In short, none of the reasons for Rule 413 apply to estimates of future expenses.

Rule 413 establishes the relevance of statements of medical charges. It provides that these statements can be introduced and constitute prima facie evidence that the charges are reasonable.

Subsequently, in Stanley v. Walker, 906 N.E.2d 852 (Ind. 2009), the Indiana Supremes added that 

in cases where the reasonable value of medical services is disputed, the method outlined in Rule 413 is not the end of the story....The opposing party may produce contradictory evidence to challenge the reasonableness of the proffered medical bills, including expert testimony. See id. Additionally, reasonableness of medical expenses can be proven, in part, by demonstrating that the plaintiff paid the actual amounts incurred....This is premised on the notion that a plaintiff would not pay an unreasonable bill....The paid bill certainly may constitute evidence of the reasonable value of services, but it is not dispositive.



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Does anyone know whether a defendant in Indiana can argue that a plaintiff failed to mitigate medical damages by purposefully avoiding the use of healthcare coverage. I have seen where plaintiff's will forego using health insurance to circumvent Stanley vs. Walker. I am wondering whether the defendant could introduce evidence of what Health Insurance would have paid had the plaintiff used the coverages available to him/her and the jury could consider that number as the reasonable amount of medical damages?

Posted by: Greg Alling | Mar 17, 2023 11:19:25 AM

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