P was badly injured in a fall while shopping in D's store.
P had surgical and other medical expenses at a hospital totaling over $24k. The hospital gave her a 50% discount.
D argued that this evidence should be presented at trial for the jury.
Trial court kept out the evidence of the discount.
AR Supreme Court affirmed, evidence of discount not admissible.
What is the collateral source rule?
The collateral source rule dictates that a court must exclude evidence of payments received by an injured party form sources collateral to the wrongdoer, such as private insurance or government benefits.
The policy behind the rule is that the P, rather than the D, is entitled to the benefit of the collateral source, even though in one sense a double recovery occurs. The P should benefit usually because they paid the insurance premium or used the sick leave which allowed for the collateral payment.
There are four situations when evidence of collateral payment is admissible…
To rebut the P's testimony that he was compelled by financial reasons to return to work prematurely or to forego additional medical care.
To show that the P had attributed his condition to some other cause, such as sickness.
To impeach the P's testimony that the he paid the medical expenses himself.
To show that the P had actually continued to work instead of being out of work, as claimed.
The Restatement says that payments made to or benefits conferred on the injured party from other sources are not credited against the D's liability, although they might cover all or a part of the harm for which the D is liable.