Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Collateral Source Rule for Medical Malpractice

Patients are supposed to feel safe at the hands of a medical professional. By the time more harm has been done by a doctor, however, patients can then file a medical malpractice lawsuit with the help of a lawyer.

Generally, several state laws on medical malpractice cases also apply to Oklahoma, including the statute of limitations of three years. Courts in Oklahoma, however, uses a modified version of the collateral source rule.

Defining Collateral Source Rule

A long-standing legal principle that applies to any other personal injury cases, the collateral source rule states that any compensation that an injured person receives from a person not legally responsible for the injuries will not reduce the amount of damages the patient can recover.

This rule often applies to lawsuits wherein a person's injuries were paid for by his insurance provider. Other than insurance, courts consider worker's compensation, Social Security, and Medicaid as collateral sources.

Why the Rule Might Not be Applied

Courts in Oklahoma, however, may not apply the collateral source rule for medical malpractice cases. In this case, any evidence that a patient receives collateral sources of payment may be admitted in their particular case, especially when discussing the amount of damages to be awarded.

On the other hand, courts will then reconsider once there is enough reason that a patient might not be paid by the collateral source, be it a denied workers' compensation claim or an existing lien against an insurance settlement.

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