Personal Injury Claims and Cases: Understanding the Colorado Collateral Source Rule

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of some other person’s negligence, you likely find yourself in a position of pursuing a claim against an insurance company or contemplating a lawsuit. With this in mind, you need to familiarize yourself with some of the basic elements of Colorado Personal Injury law.

An important principle in the realm of personal injury law is something called the collateral source doctrine (also known as the collateral source rule). Pursuant to the collateral source doctrine, evidence that an injured person received compensation from some other source beyond the damages sought from the negligent party is not admissible in court.

By way of an example, if an injured person received payment on certain medical bills by his or her own insurance company, information about such a payment is not admissible. One theory behind the collateral source doctrine is that a negligent person should not benefit from the fact that the injured party was responsible and maintained insurance.

In Colorado, an insurance company has the right to obtain certain medical records involving the injuries at issue. An insurance company will seek to have an injured person sign a broad medical release when a claim is filed – which will result in the release of information associated with payments being made by another source, like through a health insurance policy. In addition, the records provided will also include information regarding the amount a hospital, doctor or other health care provider discounted a bill for treatment or services because of the existence of insurance coverage. An insurance company presented with a claim will reduce any payment made accordingly if it is provided this financial data. An injured person needs to avoid this release of financial information.

If you find yourself pursuing a claim for compensation for injuries, promptly retaining an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney best ensures that collateral payment information is not inappropriately released to an insurance company. Indeed, the personal injury lawyers at Harding & Associates have a great deal of experience addressing issues like the collateral source doctrine and other Colorado laws and rules of procedure associated with personal injury cases. We can schedule a no-cost initial consultation with you at your convenience by calling 800-878-7888 or 303-762-9500.