Collateral source rule

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The collateral source rule, or collateral source doctrine, is an American case law evidentiary rule that prohibits the admission of evidence that the plaintiff or victim has received compensation from some source other than the damages sought against the defendant.[1] For example, in a personal injury action, evidence that the plaintiff's medical bills were paid by medical insurance, or by workers' compensation, is not generally admissible.[2]

The collateral source doctrine has come under attack by tort reform advocates. They argue that if the plaintiff's injuries and damages have already been compensated, it is unfair and duplicative to allow an award of damages against the tortfeasor.[3] As a result numerous states have altered or partially abrogated the rule by statute.[4][1]


  1. ^ a b Larson, Aaron (19 September 2016). "California Medical Malpractice Law". Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  2. ^ Ferrier, Crystal (2004). "The Collateral Source Rule: A R ule of Evidence and a Rule of Damages". Georgia State College of Law Reading Room. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  3. ^ "Closing Arguments: Is Wisconsin's collateral-source rule worth preserving?". Wisconsin Law Journal. The Daily Reporter Publishing Co. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2017. 
  4. ^ "Collateral source reforms". NAMIC. Retrieved 11 December 2017.