Urgent Warning to EVERYONE with an Injury Claim
Injured Wisconsin citizens have been under attack from the WI legislature and insurance lobby since 2010. Unfortunately, it is happening again. We at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC are trying to notify everyone of new laws sneaking through the legislature right now, including one that will devastate the cases and claims of people injured through no fault of their own.
Republican legislators tried to attack the collateral source rule in 2013, but it was rejected because every facet of society was against it except for liability insurance companies. Now republican legislators have tried to sneak it through again. AB-539/SB-405 could become law as soon as February 9, 2016. It will eliminate 100+ years of Wisconsin law, create much more litigation, require testimony from witnesses not needed before, and cause myriad legal nightmares.
One of the WORST parts of this law hurts everyone who has been injured and pays for HEALTH INSURANCE. Under the current law, an injured person can recover the reasonable value of medical bills, even if your health insurance gets a discount. That is because YOU get the discount because YOU pay for health insurance premiums. Some families may pay $12,000, $18,000, and even more than $20,000 per year in premiums. Under the new law, you may only be able to recover what your insurance paid after discount, so the person who injured you and/or their liability insurance gets the discount YOU paid for!
So you may say, OK, well then I can recover some of my health insurance premiums. NOPE! The new law says that this evidence does not come in! IMHO that provision is specifically meant to prevent hard working individuals from recovering anything they pay for insurance! SO much for “Personal Responsibility” in WI.
The governor has already made indications that he will sign this bill; he has signed all the others eliminating the rights of injured victims. So the only way to defeat this bill is to let the legislators know that Wisconsin is against giving this huge windfall to insurance companies at the expense of the injured. Very disturbing times in Wisconsin.
UPDATE: Wisconsin Puts the Brakes on Injury Law
We have to give credit where credit is due, and the Republican leaders in the WI legislature have deferred the push to pass a new law that would hurt injury victims. The proposed law would have affected the ability of injury and car crash victims to collect their medical bills. The proposed law would have devastated the claims of many people. Thanks to a public outcry the law received a more detailed analysis, and we believe it will be significantly changed before it is proposed again.
The lawyers here at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald will continue to monitor legislative changes that could affect our clients and all the citizens of Wisconsin. With hundreds of bills proposed every year, we will do our best to catch them before they become law, and do our best to protect injury victims before it is too late.