The Collateral Source Rule in Maryland Personal Injury Lawsuits

Maryland personal injury victims can file personal injury lawsuits and recover damages from the negligent individual or entity that caused their injuries. After a finding of negligence, juries will then determine the amount of damages that the plaintiff should recover. Damages often include medical expenses that the plaintiff incurred as a result of the injury or accident.

Maryland follows the collateral source rule which provides plaintiffs with the right to recover the full value of treatment and other economic damages. This rule allows Maryland plaintiffs to recuperate these losses even if the value is more than their out-of-pocket costs. Juries in these cases are prohibited from reducing a plaintiff’s reward for medical expenses and lost earnings based on reimbursements that they may receive from another source. Other sources include health or car insurance companies or paid leave from the plaintiff’s employer.

The collateral source rule prevents negligent defendants from obtaining a windfall because the victim has other sources of recovery. Moreover, it encourages people to obtain and maintain insurance policies. Collateral source instructions typically come up in the context of motor vehicle accidents. For example, another state’s appeals court recently issued an opinion stemming from an appeal of damages based on the collateral source rule. In that case, the plaintiff suffered severe injuries when she fell in a hotel parking lot. Medicare settled with her medical providers and covered the entirety of her expenses, which ended up being only one-fifth of her original bill. During the trial, the defendant attempted to bar the plaintiff’s introduction of her medical bills. The defendants argued that the plaintiff should only be able to introduce Medicare payments. The appeals court held that the amounts initially billed are relevant evidence subject to the collateral source rule and therefore should be admitted.

There are various exceptions to the collateral source rule, most importantly the Gladden exception. This exception allows defendants to admit evidence of insurance payments to rebut a plaintiff’s claim of their financial situation. Moreover, Maryland also allows defendants to utilize the malingering exception. The malingering exception enables defendants to admit certain collateral sources to establish that the plaintiff is exaggerating their injuries. However, it is essential to note that defendants may face challenges trying to admit this type of evidence because the court may find that excluding the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of prejudice to the plaintiff.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maryland Accident?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or death in a Maryland accident, contact the dedicated and experienced attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. Personal injury lawsuits often entail unanticipated barriers that can be daunting to injury victims. The attorneys at Lebowitz and Mzhen have extensive experience handling a variety of complicated lawsuits, including Maryland car accidents, truck accidents, slip and fall cases, and wrongful death cases. Compensation may include payments for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The attorneys understand and appreciate how important it is that you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the law firm at 800-645-1949 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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