Some personal injury lawyers refer to the Collateral Source Rule as the Collateral Source Doctrine. Either term refers to evidentiary value, as applied in case law. The term evidentiary value makes reference to the fact that a judge in a courtroom has the right to decide which evidence can or cannot be introduced by either side.
What are examples of a collateral source in a personal injury case?
Any money that the plaintiff might have received from a health insurance company, in order to pay for treatment of an injury that had been sustained during an accident, if the same accident had been blamed on a given individual, business or organization.
Any money that an injured employee has received from worker’s compensation, when the same employee has sustained injury while he or she had been engaged in performance of job-related duties. Monetary funds supplied by Social Security or Medicaid, after someone with coverage from one of those 2 agencies has become injured. The funds have covered the cost of treating the injured person’s medical condition.
The doctrine that applies to sources, such as those named above:
A court does not allow introduction of evidence that the plaintiff or the defendant has received compensation from any source other than the damages sought. In other words, if a plaintiff has sued a defendant, in order to obtain compensation for damages resulting from a personal injury, then the existence of payments from any collateral sources cannot be entered as evidence during the trial.
Does the above doctrine allow a plaintiff to be paid twice for a personal injury?
Plaintiffs do have the right to seek damages from a defendant, even after having obtained coverage of an injury’s treatment by a health insurance company. Yet any money that might get issued to the plaintiff’s lawyer, as the result of a court decision, must be used to reimburse the same health insurance company.
What is the reason for the collateral source rule?
The legal system does not want jurors to reduce the size of a plaintiff’s damage award, if those same jurors have learned that the plaintiff already obtained whatever money might have been needed for treating the same plaintiff’s personal injury.
Personal injury lawyers in Fort Erie go along with the established rule, because those same lawyers feel that the cost of negligent behavior should become the burden that a defendant must be forced to carry. Legally, that burden takes the form of the obligation to pay the damages that have been claimed by an injured plaintiff. In cases where a defendant has demonstrated egregious behavior that burden can be increased. That increase becomes possible when a trial ends with court-sanctioned imposition of punitive damages.