The Collateral Source Rule

Assessing Car AccidentsDue to an accident or injury, an injured plaintiff may receive benefits from their insurance company or some other 3rd party, independent source. If the Plaintiff receives funds from these sources in compensation for his injuries, does the tortfeasor defendant benefit from these payments in reducing the amount owed to plaintiff for the injuries?

In Louisiana, the answer is no. Under what is termed the collateral source rule, “a tortfeasor may not benefit, and an injured plaintiff’s tort recovery may not be reduced, because of monies received by the plaintiff from sources independent of the tortfeasor’s procuration or contribution.” Bozeman v. State, 03-1016, (La.7/2/04), 879 So.2d 692, 698.

In other words, benefits received from independent sources will not be deducted from any monies awarded to the plaintiff from the tortfeasor for “a tortfeasor’s liability to an injured plaintiff should be the same, regardless of whether or not the plaintiff had the foresight to obtain insurance.” Bozeman v. State, 03-1016, (La.7/2/04), 879 So.2d 692, 698. See also Powell v. Chabanais Concrete Pumping, Inc., 11-408 (La.App. 5 Cir. 12/28/11), 82 So.3d 548.

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