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Does Someone Else Paying My Medical Expenses Hurt My Personal Injury Lawsuit?

In most New Orleans personal injury cases, the injured person does not rely solely on a case’s outcome to pay for expenses from the injuries. It is common for other individuals or organizations to pay some of the expenses for the injuries claimed in a personal injury lawsuit.  These other parties are called collateral sources.  Examples of collateral sources include health insurers, an employer who continues to pay lost wages, or even a family member who pays medical bills.

The general rule under Louisiana law is that payments made by collateral sources do not reduce the victim’s recovery in a personal injury lawsuit.  For example, if the victim’s employer pays for some medical expenses, the victim may still pursue medical expenses in the lawsuit. There are, however, exceptions to this rule based on the specific facts surrounding a payment.  These exceptions include whether the plaintiff provided some consideration, such as an enrollment fee, for the benefit.  Collateral source benefits for which the victim paid no consideration may not be recoverable.

Also, in some cases, an insurer who paid the collateral source benefits, not the injured person, may be the proper plaintiff to pursue compensation from the defendant.

Evidence of payments made by a collateral source is not admissible in a personal injury lawsuit.  As a result, a defendant cannot argue to a jury that the damages awarded to a victim should be reduced because some of the victim’s expenses from the injury have already been paid.

If you have been injured and have any questions regarding how collateral source payments may impact a personal injury lawsuit, please feel free to call our office at 504-581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.  We would be happy to help you.