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Understanding Collateral Source Rule

  • After being injured in an accident—whether a car crash or something else—you have the right to sue the person responsible for your injuries. You can file a personal injury claim against a person, government agency, or business for their negligence. Working with an experienced attorney will improve your chances for success.

    While your case is progressing, you may receive additional payments or insurance benefits to help pay for your medical bills. This is where the collateral source rule becomes important.


    Collateral Source Rule

    You can receive money from sources other than the defendant (the party responsible for your accident and injuries). The collateral source rule states that any funds you receive from a third party cannot reduce the amount of money the defendant will have to pay you once your case settles.

    For example, if your health insurance pays for a portion of your medical bills, your financial award will not be reduced accordingly. Likewise, if your employer paid some of your injury-related expenses, it will not decrease your financial settlement.


    Lost Income and Wages

    If you have lost income due to being unable to work because of your injuries, you can seek financial compensation for your past and future lost wages. However, you may have been receiving disability benefits or workers compensation benefits during this time. If so, you can still sue the negligent party, seeking financial damages for your lost wages.


    Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

    It helps to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side to ensure that your rights are protected. A jury is not supposed to know about or take into consideration any payments made to you by a third party when deciding how much your injury claim is worth. They are only supposed to consider what the negligent party owes you for your damages and losses.

    However, this does not mean that the other party’s attorney won’t try to introduce that evidence—which is why you need your own attorney to ensure that this doesn’t happen.


    You Could Get Double

    If your insurance has paid some of your medical bills and you receive compensation for these same expenses from the negligent party, you could be receiving a double benefit. The same is true if you are receiving social security or workers compensation payments while your case is progressing.

    This is perfectly fine and financially beneficial for you.


    Get Help from a San Francisco Injury Lawyer

    If you have questions about your case and want to be sure that you are receiving the settlement you deserve, call 1-877-JCHRISP (524-7477) and speak with the Law Offices of J. Chrisp. Alternatively, you can also reach us online through our website.