Montgomery Ward v. Anderson

Anderson (Plaintiff) is entitled to the full medical expenses.  The collateral source rule prohibits Ward (Defendant) from showing that the actual medical bill was discounted by 50%.

 

–  Rationale

–  It is the tortfeasors responsibility to compensate for all the harm the person causes, not confined to the net loss that the injured party receives.

 

Facts

P was injured from the D’s negligence action.  Upon which the P, for surgical and other medical expenses at the hospital cost $24,512.4.  The P wanted the full sum for medical expenses, even though she got a 50% discount from the hospital.

–  D claimed that collateral source rule applied, and the P should only be allowed half of the figure, OR the amount that it actually cost her.

Issue

Should the collateral-source rule deny the P of the entire sum of the medical expenses?

Holding

NO.

Rule

Payments made to or benefits conferred on the injured party from other sources are not credited against the tortfeasor’s liability, although they cover all or a part of the harm for which the tortfeasor is liable.

Court reasoning

–          If the plaintiff is responsible for the benefit received the law allows the plaintiff to keep the money owed to them

–          It is the tortfeasors responsibility to compensate for all the harm he/she causes, not confined to the net loss that the injured party receives.

–          Gratuitous medical services do fall under the collateral-source rule.

  • Four exceptions to the rule for collateral source payments.
  1. Rebut plaintiff’s testimony that he or she was compelled by financial necessity to return to work prematurely or to forego additional medical care.
  2. Show that the P had attributed his condition to some other cause, such as sickness.
  3. To impeach a P’s testimony that he/she had paid for the medical expenses herself.
  4. To show that the P had continued to work even though the P claimed to be out of work.

–          A trial court must exclude evidence of payments received by an injured party from sources collateral to the wrongdoer, such as private insurance or government benefits.

 

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