Plaintiffs Lawyers Seek ‘Phantom Damages’
Some plaintiffs’ lawyers present as evidence initial bills for their clients’ even though those bills had been significantly reduced or written off.
As it apparently seeks to boost the political prospects of candidates calling for drastic new regulations of prescription-drug pricing, the dishonesty of the Health and Human Services Department in reporting “public list prices” instead of negotiated prices that were actually paid by insurers, taxpayers and consumers appears to be modeled on a tactic long used by parasitic personal-injury lawyers (“Drug Spending Dementia,” Review & Outlook, Dec. 24).
With help from state lawmakers and judges who its generous campaign contributions help elect, the plaintiffs bar has long sought to collect “phantom damages” in courtrooms across the country. Frequently in personal-injury lawsuits plaintiffs lawyers seek to maximize their payday by presenting as evidence initial bills for their clients’ medical care or physical therapy, even though those bills had been significantly reduced or written off altogether after negotiations between health-care providers and insurers.
But the American Tort Reform Association and its allies are steadily succeeding in persuading state lawmakers to enact statutes that preclude awards for such phantom damages.
American Tort Reform Association