When you are injured in an auto accident, there may be multiple different bases for your compensation. There may be an award for pain and suffering, for lost wages, and for your past medical bills. But what if a third party, like your employer’s insurer, has already paid your past medical bills? In many cases, that may not matter, and you may still be entitled to recover those damages in addition to your other damages. Making sure that you are getting everything that the law says you are entitled to receive is a key reason why you should take the time to consult an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney about your case.
The Louisiana Court of Appeal recently ruled on a case in which an injured driver had medical expenses paid by a third party. EJ was traveling along the Evangeline Thruway near Lafayette when, for reasons not explained by the Court of Appeal, another driver (Marcus) left his lane and crossed into EJ’s, hitting EJ’s vehicle. The accident caused EJ’s knee to slam into the dashboard. He also twisted his back. Both men were working on behalf of their respective employers when the accident happened.
EJ’s knee pain persisted, and eventually he required surgery to repair a torn piece of cartilage and partially torn ligament. EJ decided to pursue legal action related to his injuries. At the end of the trial, the verdict was in favor of EJ, but he was awarded only $41,400 in damages. There was an additional $33,000 in medical expenses damages that EJ proved, but the court refused to include those damages because EJ’s employer’s insurance company paid those expenses, which, according to the trial court, meant that EJ was not entitled to an award of those damages.
The injured man appealed, and he won. The result of this case is an important reminder about all of the damages for which you are entitled to be compensated. Louisiana law recognizes something called the “collateral source rule,” which says that, in many cases, the defense in a personal injury case cannot present evidence regarding the source of payment of expenses you racked up in connection with your accident. In other words, if your employer’s insurance company paid some of your doctor or hospital bills, that is not relevant to the amount of compensation that you are entitled to receive. Those expenses are still damages that you incurred, and the at-fault party is not legally allowed to benefit (and escape paying for damages it caused) simply because a third party paid your bills.
In EJ’s case, this meant the defendants weren’t entitled to reap a benefit just because EJ’s employer’s insurance company decided to pay his medical bills. This meant that EJ was entitled to an additional $33,000 on top of the compensation the trial court had already awarded him.
If you have been hurt in an auto accident, reach out to the accomplished Louisiana car accident attorneys at the Cardone Law Firm. Our team has extensive experience and detailed knowledge to help you get the full compensation you deserve in your injury case.
For your confidential consultation, contact us online or phone Cardone at 504-522-3333.
More Blog Posts:
How Much Is My Louisiana Personal Injury Case Worth & What Types of Damages Can I Receive?, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 15, 2018
Louisiana Appeals Court Doubles Award of General Damages Based Upon the Duration of an Injured Man’s Symptoms, Louisiana Injury Lawyers Blog, Jan. 3, 2018