The Florida Supreme Court recently took on the issue of collateral source evidence in Joerg v. State Farm, a case stemming from a serious bicycle accident injury.
The collateral source rule, also sometimes referred to as the collateral source doctrine, prohibits the admission of evidence that a plaintiff or victim has received compensation from some source other than defendant. The idea is a defendant shouldn’t have to pay less for a tortious act just because a plaintiff had health insurance or collected workers’ compensation.
Still, since 1984, the court had allowed a limited admission of evidence regarding certain kinds of free or low-cost future collateral source benefits. But that has now changed. In the Joerg case, the court ruled all defendants are barred from introducing evidence of collateral source benefits plaintiffs may receive in the future. These include Medicare and Medicaid. Given that almost all Americans will at least collect on Medicare at some point in their lives, the decision has widespread implications in personal injury law. Continue reading