The collateral source rule is a common law doctrine that has impacted personal injury cases in a significant manner for nearly a century.
When a hospital or doctor issues a bill to a person who has insurance coverage, it is quite common for the medical care provider and the insurance company to negotiate a reduced rate for the bill.
This can result in the insurance company paying less to the doctor than the amount of the actual bill. Evidence of these reductions in bills, however, cannot be used as evidence in personal injury cases. This means that the jury only knows the amount of the actual medical bills, not the amount that actually satisfied the bills.
The Wisconsin legislature again is taking steps to eliminate the collateral source rule in order to eliminate the perceived windfall that injury victims might receive in their personal injury claims.
Critics of the collateral source rule claim that the principle allows the injured individual to be compensated for so-called “phantom” damages. Theoretically, the injured person could end up getting more compensation for medical bills than his or her insurance company actually paid for the bills, or, in some minds, more than to which he or she is entitled by virtue of the personal injury suit.
On the other hand, those in favor of the collateral source rule claim that discontinuing the rule would result in a reduction in a negligent party’s financial responsibility for the injuries that he or she has caused.
The fact that an injured party has good insurance coverage would diminish the negligent party’s duty to properly compensate the injured party, whereas an injured party with no insurance coverage would increase the negligent party’s duty of compensation.
As Wisconsin personal injury laws continually change, you need the lawyers who keep up-to-date on the most recent legal developments in this area of the law and know how to best apply these laws to your advantage in your case.
The Madison personal injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan handle personal injury cases on a daily basis and know what it takes to get the compensation that you need. Take the first step and call our office today at 608-268-0268 to set up your free consultation with one of our injury lawyers.
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We live in Friendship, Wisconsin, and Boller & Vaughan came to our doorstep to discuss our mother’s wrongful death claim on a Saturday morning. Not only were we pleased with the large recovery, we were so thankful to have lawyers who were willing to explain to us every twist and turn along the way. It is great to know there is a law firm that will fight for the rights of elderly people all over Wisconsin.
Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan were incredible in working on my case and my daughter’s case. I was out of work and in the hospital with a new baby. Mr. Boller and Ms. Vaughan protected our rights and it was a pleasure to work with them. I hope never to be in another motor vehicle accident, however, if I am and I am injured, I will contact Boller & Vaughan immediately.
I was referred to Michelle through a friend. I have never had a better experience. It took a little over a year to get my settlement but the staff there stayed in constant contact and kept me in the loop. Oh, and Michelle actually got me MORE money than we discussed. I will refer anyone to this firm. Words cannot do justice the thanks that I have for Michelle and her staff (Mary especially) thank you guys so much!
After my husband died as a result of a motor vehicle accident, Boller & Vaughan spent countless hours talking with me, meeting with me in person, and making sure that I was okay. The drunk driver who hit us did not have any insurance, and we had to make a claim through our own insurance. Boller & Vaughan was fantastic at explaining the law to me and the handling of our claims.
After my son was injured in a daycare setting, Ms. Vaughan took the time to thoroughly investigate our case and my son’s injuries. Michele was approachable and had answers to our questions. Talking with her helped to relieve many of our anxieties.