The means of determining the amount of money that an injured party can recover in a personal injury lawsuit is being reviewed again in what could be a landmark case. Howell v. Hamilton Meats is currently being heard in the California Supreme Court. A San Diego appellate court determined that a woman was eligible to reclaim $190,000 that a hospital invoiced her for medical treatment for serious injuries she suffered in an auto accident, even though her insurance company settled with the hospital for $60,000.
If the California Supreme Court upholds the appellate court’s decision, it could reverse a long-standing, but controversial rule called the “collateral source” rule. This rule says that information on collateral payment sources, in this case, payments made by the injured woman’s insurance company to the hospital, is not allowed as evidence in a trial. Two landmark cases, Hanif v. Housing Authority of Yolo County and Nishihama v. City and County of San Francisco, are often cited as precedence for the collateral source rule.
However, in Howell v. Hamilton Meats, the Court of Appeal dismissed these precedents. The Court ruled that the amount of medical expenses written off, in this case $130,000 waived by a medical provider, should be awarded to the plaintiff through application of the collateral source rule.
Long Beach personal injury lawyers such as Samer Habbas and California personal injury attorneys around the state are watching this case with great interest. The ruling by the California Supreme Court could have a big impact on cases handled by Southern California personal injury attorneys like Mr. Habbas now and in the future. If you or someone you care for has been injured or lost and you’d like to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer, call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas today at 888.848.5084.