Discussing Tennessee’s Collateral Source Rule
If you are thinking about filing a lawsuit against a negligent party to recover damages for injuries that you suffered from an accident in Tennessee, your friends might tell you that your damages will be limited if you have insurance that covers your medical costs. Your friends might be referring to the state’s “collateral source” rules. A Nashville personal injury lawyer can explain the real effect of that rule, and can tell you why your friend’s opinion is wrong.
In some states, payments that an injured party receives from an insurance company will be admissible as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit to reduce the amount of damages that a negligent party is obligated to pay. This evidence is admissible in Tennessee only in cases of medical malpractice. Tennessee has enacted a law that precludes an injured party from recovering the full amount of his or her damages from a negligent doctor or hospital if insurance already covered the cost of those damages. Although the Tennessee legislature has considered extending this rule to other types of accidents in the name of “tort reform”, it has not yet extended this rule beyond medical malpractice.
Thus, under Tennessee law, you can recover the full amount of the reasonable and necessary expenses associated with the damages you suffered as a result of another party’s negligence, regardless of what expenses might have been paid by a collateral source. The state’s Supreme Court affirmed this rule in 2000, and as of the current date, this rule has not been changed.
Notwithstanding this rule, a party whose negligence caused the accident that injured you, as well as that party’s insurance carriers, will try to argue for lower damages if you have already received some compensation from your insurance company. An experienced personal injury lawyer will anticipate this argument and will be ready to rebut it to get you the largest damages award possible.
Please contact us for a consultation and an evaluation of your case if you have been injured as a result of another party’s negligence in Tennessee. We know the tricks that defendants and their insurance companies will use to try to pay you less than you are owed, and we can block those tricks to get you full compensation for your injuries and damages.