The Collateral Source Rule & the Concept Of “Double Recovery”

Compensation Money And Litigation. Employment Health Coverage

Under Texas law, a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit is limited, inter alia, by the notion that one may not recover twice for the same injury; or, as it is said in practice: no double recovery. Nevertheless, Texas holds—as do a majority of states—that the defendant-tortfeasor must be held to compensate the plaintiff for the full value of the injuries he or she has caused regardless of what contractual protection plaintiff has obtained from another party and who has paid in advance to cover losses.

The Collateral Source Rule is practical offshoot of concept. The Rule provides that if the plaintiff receives benefits from someone other than the defendant-tortfeasor, such “collateral” benefits are not revealed to the jury, not introduced into evidence, and not deducted from the total damages awarded to the plaintiff. But, the plaintiff may not make those benefits as a part of the claim after those benefits are given by the collateral source. In that way, Plaintiff would be seeking double recovery.

Generally, the collateral source in personal injury cases will be a lien or a right of subrogation and is reimbursed for the overlap between the benefits and the damages. Though the Rule has been under attack as of late by tort reform advocates, the Rule has arguably remained in place because without it, the defendant-tortfeasor would absorb the benefit of an adequately insured plaintiff whereby the wrongdoer receives a windfall from its tortious conduct. Instead, the plaintiff’s insurance rates will rise, with all residual benefit running to the liable party.

The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz, & Stogner is the longest-standing personal injury firm in Texas, and our attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to obtain just compensation for our clients. Call us today at 713-222-7211 or 1-800-870-9584 for your free consultation.