New case law allows for better damage awards in Tennessee

There’s never a good time to get into an auto accident, but a recent Tennessee Supreme Court decision should prove to be extremely helpful for plaintiffs trying to obtain a reasonable compensation award.

According to an article in News Radio online, the Supreme Court recently set an important precedent for future auto accident and other personal injury claims.

About the Recent Decision

The case was Jean Dedmon v. Debbie Steelman, Et Al. On Friday, November 17, 2017, the court came down with a clear decision on a complicated matter. 

Although the issue is complicated, it centers on damage awards and insurance benefits. In general, hospitals accept a much lower fee for services from an insurance company with which they have a contract then the hospital would ever accept from an individual patient paying out of pocket.

In a personal injury case, the plaintiff’s lawyer will look at the victim’s injuries and determine the cost of medical care that will be needed. Then, the lawyer will use this information to get an estimate of what the medical treatment will cost.

The defendants, on the other hand, have used the insurance company fees to argue for lower medical expenses and thus lower damage awards.

In Dedmon v. Steelman, however, the court changed all that, reinforcing the “collateral source rule.” According to the Court’s opinion in the case, the collateral source rule “excludes evidence of benefits to the plaintiff from sources collateral to the tortfeasor and precludes the reduction of the plaintiff’s damage award by such collateral payments.

All this means is that defendants cannot lower your damage award by looking at insurance benefits.

What Does This Mean for You?

Most simply, this decision means that you have a much better chance than you did last year to obtain a substantial compensation award if you have been in an accident. At Gold Law Firm in Memphis, we serve clients throughout the state of Tennessee, and we have a wealth of experience and knowledge handling all kinds of auto accident claims.

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