In most jurisdictions, including Illinois, proving up medical bills at trial requires evidence that the charges for medical services were reasonable. Usually, the reasonableness of a bill can be easily established with proof that the bill was paid. But what if the bill hasn't been paid yet?
If the bill hasn't been paid, you'll have to work a little harder. Testimony about reasonableness can come from the following sources:
- A treating or physician can testify about the usual, fair, and customary charges for the treatment given to the plaintiff. Since physicians often won't have the requisite personal knowledge, as when a plaintiff receives treatment in a hospital, you'll often have to look elsewhere for the testimony.
- A non-treating physician listed as an expert who has knowledge of the usual, fair, customary charges can give an opinion about the reasonableness of the plaintiff's medical bills.
- An employee of the medical provider such as a custodian of records or credit manager with knowledge of the costs of the services provided to the plaintiff can testify about their reasonableness.
Cases on these points are easy to find in Lexis or Westlaw. Be sure to examine the case closely so that when you're questioning the witness, you can jump all the hoops required to lay a proper foundation. Also, when proving up medical bills, you should always consider doing so by means of requests for admission or stipulations. This is always more efficient than live testimony. Just remember to ask for stipulations well in advance of trial, since your opposing counsel is less likely to stipulate once you've waited too long to get your evidence by other means.