In Maryland, it is possible to admit medical bills and records at trial without calling a doctor or other health care provider to testify. Section 10-104 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Code sets forth the requirements for introducing medical bills and records without the support of witness testimony at trial. This provision can save a client the added expense of having to pay a doctor to testify at trial or in a deposition. In some cases, the cost of such testimony can be considerable. In many personal injury lawsuits or automobile accident cases, particularly in Maryland’s District Courts, it may be more cost-effective to introduce medical bills pursuant to section 10-104. Doing so may actually increase a client’s net recovery because it reduces certain litigation expenses.
Section 10-104 sets forth several technical requirements that must be satisfied in order to present medical bills and reports without testimony. Section 10-104 may be used in any personal injury action in the District Court or in any such action in the Circuit Court in which the amount in controversy does not exceed $30,000.00. Medical bills and reports introduced under section 10-104 are not required to contain a statement as to the fairness or reasonableness of the treatment or associated cost. In order to gain the benefits under 10-104, a party must give advance notice of his or her intention to introduce writings and records without the support of testimony. A party does this by filing a notice with the Court at least 60 days before trial and serving it on all other parties to the action. The notice must list the name of the health care provider for each writing or record, as well as the date of each report or treatment.
In District Court personal injury cases, or Circuit Court personal injury cases where the amount in controversy is not likely to exceed $30,000.00, it is good practice to serve a copy of the notice when you serve a copy of the complaint on the defendant(s). This ensures compliance with the 60-day notice requirement and preserves the right to proceed under 10-104. An experienced trial lawyer, in consultation with his or her client, can always decide whether it makes sense to call a doctor or other healthcare provider at a later date (even if notice under 10-104 has been provided).
The fact-finder, whether it is a judge or a jury, is free to give evidence submitted under 10-104 the weight it deems appropriate under the circumstances.
If you’ve been injured in a personal injury accident or automobile accident and the extent of your damages are not likely to exceed $30,000, you may want to consider utilizing section 10-104 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, or consulting an experienced trial lawyer at www.mdattorney.com to determine whether it is appropriate for your case.