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What Is the Collateral Source Rule in Florida?

The collateral source rule in Florida is a longstanding legal guideline that impacts many personal injury insurance claims. Its existence demonstrates that Florida injury compensation law values injury victims’ right to maximum compensation.

Essentially, the rule protects injury claimants’ damages from being reduced in certain circumstances, even if they’ve already been compensated.

Examining the Collateral Source Rule

The collateral source rule prevents a defendant in a tort action from introducing evidence of compensation from a third party in order to obtain a reduction in a damages settlement or judgment. In other words, third-party compensation payments for an injury don’t figure into the award calculation.

In this context, a third party is any individual or entity that isn’t associated with the dispute between the injury victim and the defendant. They must be wholly independent from the affair at hand.

For example, consider an injury victim whose personal insurance company kicks in to cover her treatment soon after she’s injured. Neither the amount of those payments nor their existence is relevant to the case between the injury victim and the defendant. 

Keep in mind that personal insurance is just one of the many types of collateral sources. Others include:

  • Social Security benefits
  • Social Security Disability benefits
  • Workers’ compensation benefits
  • Life insurance payouts
  • Medicaid and Medicare
  • Veterans benefits

It’s also important to note that settlements and judgments aren’t protected from reduction under all circumstances.

In some cases, a third party may seek a portion of an injury victim’s compensation to cover benefits and compensation already provided. For example, the government can seek to recover a portion of the benefits paid in a settlement or verdict. The defendant, however, cannot.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney for Assistance

Shrader, Mendez & O’Connell is prepared to fight to protect your interests and rights. Call 813-360-1529 to speak with an attorney today.

Posted in Personal Injury