The Collateral Source Rule and Personal Injury Lawsuits in Florida
Medical bills are a major source of financial hardship for Americans. People without health insurance can end up in a dire financial situation if they seek treatment even for a relatively minor illness or injury. For example, if you cut your hand while doing home repairs and need stitches, the emergency room bill can be in the thousands of dollars, even if you only need four stitches. An illness or injury serious to require overnight hospitalization can be financially devastating even to people who have health insurance. Medical insurance offers enough financial protection to be worth the cost; any medical bills you have would be even higher if you didn’t have insurance. Despite this, Florida’s personal injury laws acknowledge that an injured person might still suffer substantial financial losses, even if the person has health insurance. A personal injury lawyer can help you file a lawsuit related to your accidental injuries, whether or not you have insurance.
What Is the Collateral Source Rule
In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff requests that the defendant pay to cover the plaintiff’s medical bills that relate to an injury caused by the defendant. The collateral source rule says that having health insurance cannot stop you from being awarded damages in a personal injury lawsuit. In fact, the defendant cannot even make the argument in court that you have health insurance; evidence about the plaintiff having health insurance coverage is considered inadmissible in a personal injury lawsuit.
The judge in a personal injury case must decide whether it is the defendant’s responsibility to pay for bills related to the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant caused the accident or, in some cases, that the defendant did not uphold their duty to prevent the accident. The plaintiff must also prove his or her financial losses that resulted from the injury. Whether or not the plaintiff has another source of financial support, such as health insurance, is irrelevant.
Should You File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Even If You Have Health Insurance?
Whether or not you have health insurance should not play a role in your decision to file a personal injury lawsuit. The only time insurance affects a car accident injury lawsuit is when it comes to the settlement offer that you get from the car insurance company. If the settlement offer is not enough to cover your past and future medical bills and past and future lost income, which it usually is not if your injuries are serious, then you should not sign the offer. If you sign, you lose the right to sue. If you are unsure whether the settlement amount being offered is enough, ask a personal injury lawyer.
Contact Scott Smith About Personal Injury Cases
If the defendant caused your injuries, then it is the defendant’s responsibility to compensate you for them, even if you have health insurance. Contact Palm Beach County personal injury lawyer Scott Smith for a consultation.