The Texas Collateral Source Rule and Insurance Settlements
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

The insurance adjuster for the person who hurt you may try to convince you that you are not entitled to be "reimbursed" for your medical bills if those bills have been paid by a health insurance plan and that you are not entitled to "lost wages" if you have sick days or get worker's compensation.

However, this is not the case when a jury determines your damages in a court of law. Texas has a collateral source rule which prohibits the jury from hearing whether your medical bills have been (partially) paid by health insurance or whether you had sick leave or paid vacation to help get you through your injuries.

Many people feel this is a "double recovery." But think about it. Why should the person who hurt you get a reduction in what is owed because you have paid premiums for health insurance or because you have accumulated sick days or paid vacation? If you use up your sick days because of harm the defendant did you, those days won't be available to you for other types of health problems. If you make monetary sacrifices to obtain health insurance, why should the defendant get the advantage of your sacrifices?

Don't let an insurance adjuster try to shame you into taking less than a fair settlement because you were responsible enough to plan for sickness and injuries.

If you feel an adjuster is doing this, your best bet may be to contact an attorney of your own to discuss whether the insurance company offer is fair.

Written by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law
Last revised: January 23, 1997

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