Federal Court Decision Hurts Injured plaintiffs
Persons injured in car wrecks often don’t have the money to obtain necessary medical treatment. To help injured plaintiffs, medical funding companies pay the injured person’s medical bills, and the injured person later pays the medical funding company back, hopefully out of the person’s injury settlement or verdict. For decades, the “collateral source” rule in Georgia prohibited car insurance attorneys from telling juries about an injured person’s health insurance or other sources of paying healthcare providers. Recently, though, a federal court ruled that insurance company attorneys can now tell a Georgia jury about this funding arrangement. Insurance company attorneys want to tell a jury about this arrangement in order to try to convince the jury that the doctors are willing to lie about a person’s injuries in order to make sure the doctors get paid.
We think that car insurance attorneys should not be able to make this argument because we believe that doctors affiliated with medical funding groups are treating patients who otherwise would not be able to afford necessary medical treatment. This federal court decision will result in the reduced use of medical funding companies because now juries will find out about them and could hold their use against the injured person. The end result will be that injured persons will not get the medical treatment they need, cannot prove their injuries, and cannot get fair compensation – which is the result the auto insurance companies want.