Treatment of Collateral Sources

Under Florida law, an injured party who is entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit for injuries sustained in a car accident would not ordinarily have the right to recover any damages for which Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are paid. Pursuant to F.S. 627.736(3) the court has the authority and shall reduce the amount of such award by the total of all amounts which have been paid for the benefit of the claimant. Payments made on behalf of the injured party's insurance company is known as a collateral source.

Payment from collateral sources can oftentimes lead to setoffs against jury awards for economic damages. Florida case law provides that a defendant is entitled to have an award of past medical expenses reduced by the difference between the amounts charged by the provider and the amounts actually paid to the provider by the health insurer in question.

Florida courts have established this position, reasoning that the plaintiff should not be compensated for bills that a provider has written off after accepting a negotiated payment by an insurer. Thus, when addressing personal injury cases involving motor vehicles it is important to not only analyze all available insurance but to remain mindful of collateral source issues and the subrogation rights of other parties.