Is Offering to Pay Medical Expenses Admitting Fault?
Most accidents involve two people. Typically, one person is at fault, or mostly at fault, and the other sustains injuries to either themselves or their property. Determining who is at fault is not always easy. This is especially true right after an accident when people’s adrenaline is running high. One person may think it is their fault when really, it was the other party. Good-hearted people may even offer to pay medical expenses directly after an accident. If you have offered to pay, can that be used against you in a lawsuit?
What are the Rules?
There is a specific evidence rule that all lawyers learn about in law school. Rule 409 has to do with “Offers to Pay Medical and Similar Expenses.” It is the rule that governs how and if this evidence can be brought to court during a personal injury trial. It reads:
“Evidence of furnishing, promising to pay, or offering to pay medical, hospital, or similar expenses resulting from an injury is not admissible to prove liability for the injury.”
As you can see, it is not admissible to prove liability in an injury case. So if you happen to blurt out that you will pay for the person’s medical expenses, it cannot be proof that you were the one who caused the injury.
Why Is This Evidence Not Admissible?
This rule was created because most people are not evil, and want to fix any pain or hurt they think they caused another person. Our impulse is to stop the pain or help one another in some way. It isn’t proof that a person has caused the situation that resulted in an injury, but rather, the person wants to comfort the injured.
Have you been involved in an accident where you offered to pay medical expenses? Contact The Law Offices of Tanya Gomerman today to schedule your FREE consultation. Call 415-545-8608.