If you were injured and another party is responsible for your injuries, you likely want to bring a personal injury claim against the responsible parties. This helps you recoup money for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. However, when it comes to personal injury claims and medical bills, the collateral source rule may come into play. This is not a term the average person is familiar with. If you have heard this term being thrown around in regards to your claim, you may have many questions. Here are a few of the questions you may have in regards to this term and the answers.
What is the Collateral Source Rule?
The collateral source rule can be very complicated and there are many exceptions to this rule. However, in a nut shell, the rule states that you, the injured party, are legally entitled to certain expenses related to your injuries. If those expenses are covered by another party or source, you should not be penalized and lose out on that money. Likewise, the defendant, or responsible party, should not benefit and have to pay less just because another source covered these expenses.
In most personal injury claims, the collateral source rule comes into play when it comes to medical expenses. You are entitled to recoup money for the medical expenses related to the injuries that you sustained in the accident. However, if you have medical insurance and they decide to cover these expenses, the collateral source rule works to your benefit. You are still entitled to the money for your medical expenses even though another party already paid for them. As such, you aren't penalized for having insurance, and the at-fault party doesn't benefit from you having medical insurance.
Are the Rules for Collateral Sourcing the Same in Every State?
Over the last decade there has been a push in many states to either do away with the collateral source rule or limit judgements to prevent injured parties from double-dipping. As such, the laws do slightly vary from state to state. For example, in Florida, an injured party cannot be reimbursed for their medical expenses if those expenses were paid through medicare, medicaid or other tax-funded state medical programs. In California, the party on trial can introduce evidence that shows the injured parties medical expenses were already paid. A judge or jury can then decide if the party should be allowed to double dip and collect money for medical expenses even though they were paid based on the severity of the injuries and the other parties negligence.
How is a Personal Injury Lawyer Beneficial When the Collateral Source Rule Comes into Play?
The collateral source rule is complex and is enforced differently in each state. If your medical expenses were covered by your insurance company, you will want to talk to a personal injury lawyer, such as Charles Aaron PLC, about this rule. They can help you determine the full amount of your medical expenses, how much you may be able to recoup under the collateral source rule, and what information you may need to present in your case to recoup this money.
Legal terms can be confusing to the average person. If you have never filed or been involved in a personal injury claim before, there are likely many terms that will be thrown around or said that you don't fully understand. One term that you may be unfamiliar with is the collateral source rule. Learning about this terms will help you to better understand what is happening in your case and how it can affect the final outcome of your case.