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Collateral Source Rule


When an individual sustains a personal injury due to another person’s negligence, the legal question on most victims’ minds is how they are going to afford medical care to take care of themselves in the future. When several parties are involved in an accident, things get complicated. Generally, when more parties are involved, there are more insurance companies and lawyers, which can make it more difficult for you to recover fair value.

What is Subrogation?

According to Investopedia, subrogation is a legal right that most carriers have to pursue a third party that caused an insurance loss to the insured. For instance, a passenger injured in a car crash may be sent immediately to the hospital, where health insurance will start paying the bills. However, at a later date, because the injuries were caused by another party’s negligence, the health insurance company reserves the right to recover from the third-party portion of what it expended in medical care. Thus, your recovery may be reduced.

The Jury Will Not be Informed about Multiple Sources of Compensation, but the Judge Will

The jury cannot be informed of the collateral sources of reimbursement because, as mentioned in the decision Joerg v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co, such evidence could confuse the jury about liability. With multiple sources of reimbursement, juries could also be led to believe that the plaintiff is trying to recover more money than the case might be worth. Instead of informing the jury about the collateral sources of reimbursement, after the jury has awarded the plaintiff, the judge can reduce the award by the amount of collateral sources. By working with an attorney, you may be able to successfully argue that little to no reduction should be calculated.

If No Subrogation Right Exists

According to Florida Statute 768.76(1), “if no subrogation right exists, sources within the following four categories of benefits are considered collateral sources subject to a set-off:”

  1. Payments made to any hospital, dental, medical, or other health care services as part of a contract, such as a health care plan.
  2. Payments made due to a health, sickness, or income disability insurance, including any other insurance policies with similar coverage. This excludes life insurance policies.
  3. Payments made under the Social Security Act or other public program to provide medical or disability benefits.
  4. Payments made under a wage continuation plan. Most often this comes from an employer who pays continues to pay their employee through the time of their disability.

Contact a West Palm Beach Attorney at Once

Because of the grave nature of your medical condition and costs, and the complex legal situation that you most likely have on your hands, it is imperative that you work with a professional West Palm Beach personal injury attorney that has experience in handling these types of cases. Call the Celeste Law Firm at 561-478-2447 today.



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