Collateral Source Rule - Explained
What is the Collateral Source Rule?
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What is the Collateral Source Doctrine?
The collateral source rule is a clause that appears in insurance coverage or used for insurance-related cases. This rule states that when the court awards damages to a plaintiff, the damages cannot be reduced regardless of whether an amount has been paid to cover the damages by other sources. The collateral source rule prohibits the reduction of damages awarded to a plaintiff who has suffered a damage, injury or disability form a third party. According to this rule, the collection of compensation for damages by the plaintiff from other sources does not serve as evidence for the reduction of damages awarded to him by a court.
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How does the Collateral Source Rule Work?
The collateral source rule is a legal principle that is used in a personal injury case. This rule disregards any evidence that a plaintiff has been covered by other sources different from the defendant. This rule mandates a plaintiff to receive due compensation from the insurance company (that serves as the source) and not from other parties involved in the case. Hence, if an amount has been paid by another party to the litigation, this cannot be deducted from the damages awarded tithe plaintiff by the court. Other sources as contained in the collateral source rule includes health insurance and workers compensation paid to the plaintiff. The collateral source rule mandates a defendant to pay the damages awarded to a plaintiff for disability, damages or injuries in full, this is without deducting the amount received from other people.
Basis For and Criticism of Collateral Source Rule
The rationale behind the collateral source rule is to allow plaintiffs to recover damages from insurance companies responsible for the damages, regardless of other insurance coverage that the plaintiff has. Hence, with the collateral source rule, a plaintiff can receive coverage from multiples sources and this does not forfeit the damages that will be paid by the insurance company involved. For instance, if a Plaintiff who suffered injury or disability after an accident received coverage from health insurance or workers compensation, this cannot be used as evidence to reduce the damages awarded to the plaintiff by a court. There are some criticism against the collateral source rule, most critics of this rule argue that it aids double recovery for plaintiffs and it is unfair for plaintiffs to receive a double recovery.
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