Summary Judgment of Damages Sets Precedent

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Believed to be the first time a Harris County judge rules that Section 41.0105 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code applies to limit a Party’s recovery of medical bills. Benavides v Zurich American Insurance Company.

On May 30, 2006, Hermes Sargent Bates attorneys Anthony Cox and Greta Matzen obtained a summary judgment of damages, stating that Section 41.0105 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code limits a Party’s recovery to the amount paid by a collateral source, such as workers' compensation. This is believed to be the first time a Harris County judge has decided Section 41.0105 applies to limit a Party’s recovery of medical bills.

Section 41.0105 limits a Party’s recovery of medical expenses to those expenses that the Party actually “pays or incurs.” The claimant/plaintiff had sought to recover medical expenses for the amount the medical provider billed, despite that the Workers' Compensation Act reduced those bills under fee guidelines promulgated by the Workers' Compensation Commission.

In granting summary judgment, the court reasoned that just because a medical provider sends a bill does not mean that a Party is entitled to recover that amount. Of particular importance, the court determined Section 41.0105 did not limit the recovery of paid medical bills as a “collateral source,” but rather that the section applies as a substantive limitation on a Party’s damage claim. Benavides v Zurich American Insurance Company, Cause number 2005-36200, pending in Harris County District Court.

Anthony Cox, a partner with Hermes Sargent Bates, devotes his practice to representing parties in insurance coverage disputes.

Greta Matzen, an associate with Hermes Sargent Bates, focuses her practice on representing parties in insurance coverage disputes.

Hermes Sargent Bates, the largest firm in Texas with a female name partner, is a full-service commercial firm that works with a wide array of local, national, and international clients in the risk, manufacturing, services, and commercial sectors. Named by Texas Lawyer as the sixth fastest growing firm in Texas, the firm handles a wide range of cases, including: appellate & litigation support, banking & finance, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, commercial litigation, construction litigation, general employment & labor, healthcare, mass tort litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability, products liability, professional liability, real estate, transportation, and workers’ compensation. The attorneys also have a broad depth of experience in advising clients on non-litigation matters.

For more information, please contact Anthony Cox at 214-749-6545. The firm’s website can be found at http://www.hsblaw.com.

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Lauren Laughead
HERMES SARGENT BATES, LLP
214-749-6569
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