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Collateral source reform bill advances

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The House Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee has given approval to an important legal reform priority, Senate Bill 847. The legislation clarifies that in a lawsuit an injured person can recover only the actual cost he or she incurred for a medical treatment.

The collateral source rule bars the admissibility of trial evidence showing when a plaintiff’s losses have been compensated from other sources, such as insurance or workers compensation.  Plaintiffs can make money bringing suits for injuries that may already be covered by other sources or claim phantom damages – a cost they never incurred.

Many states have advanced legislative measures to reform collateral source statutes and rein in awards that exceed actual recovery costs.  Missouri lawmakers also attempted to change the collateral source rule in 2005, but the courts have since altered the intent of the law.

The legislation now awaits review by the House Select Judiciary Committee before it can be debated by the full House.

For more information on legal reform, contact Brian Bunten at bbunten@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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