Friday, April 29, 2016

Missouri getting ready to abolish collateral source rule

Bad news for victims in Missouri.  TortsProf blog is reporting that the Missouri House passed a bill abolishing the collateral source rule.  A version of the bill has already passed the Missouri Senate.  The Missouri Times has details.

The collateral source rule is an old doctrine, which at one point applied pretty much everywhere, that prevented courts from taking into account any amount of money the plaintiff receives from a source other than a defendant when determining the amount of compensation in a lawsuit.  Over time, with the backing of tort reformers, some jurisdictions have abolished the doctrine based on the phony argument that it allows the plaintiff to get unjustly enriched.  The argument is that because of the doctrine the plaintiff can get paid by the plaintiff's insurance and then on top of that gets paid again by the defendant.

The argument is phony because the payment by the insurance company comes after the plaintiff has been paying the insurance premiums for however long the plaintiff had the insurance.  So eliminating the doctrine actually penalizes the plaintiff for having gotten insurance to begin with.  

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