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Florida Fourth DCA rules that reasonableness and necessity of plaintiff's medical expenses were properly established through plaintiff's testimony

On May 25, 2018, in Walerowicz v. Armand-Hosang, No. 4D17-1900, the Florida Fourth DCA affirmed a personal injury judgment for a plaintiff. The defendant argued on appeal that the plaintiff had not adequately proved the reasonableness and necessity of the medical bills included in the damage award. The Fourth DCA noted that plaintiff’s burden to prove the reasonableness and necessity of medical expenses required more than just evidence of the amount of the medical bills, but that lay testimony by the plaintiff may be sufficient. See Garrett v. Morris Kirschman & Co., 336 So. 2d 566, 571 (Fla. 1976)); Easton v. Bradford, 390 So. 2d 1202, 1204 (Fla. 2d DCA 1980). The Fourth DCA concluded that the plaintiff had sufficiently established reasonableness and necessity by explaining the treatment that underlay each bill and relating that treatment to the injuries she sustained. The Fourth DCA distinguished Albertson’s Inc. v. Brady, 475 So. 2d 986 (Fla. 2d DCA 1985) on the basis that in Albertson’s, unlike this case, neither the plaintiff nor an expert testified about the details of her treatment to establish that the medical bills in her composite exhibit were related to her injury.

The Fourth DCA also affirmed that trial court’s denial of the defendant’s motion for a new trial, which had been based on the admission of a treating physician’s expert testimony about causation without his being explicitly designated as an expert by the plaintiff in pre-trial disclosures and without any pre-trial disclosure by the plaintiff of the physician’s CV (the plaintiff had indicated in early pre-trial disclosures that the physician would testify as to causation, permanency and reasonable necessary charges for services, but had admitted this language from the last disclosure). In rejecting the defense arguments regarding prejudice, the Fourth DCA noted that the defense had never sought to depose the physician, had never asked for a Daubert hearing or contemporaneously objected to the physician’s permanency testimony at trial, and had itself violated the trial court’s pre-trial disclosure order.
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