It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, Methodist, or Sutter.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury lawsuit and its proceedings.)
Section 3333.1, subdivision (a) suspends the common law "collateral source rule," under which a defendant is ordinarily precluded from introducing evidence of compensation and benefits that plaintiff receives from other sources, such as medical and disability insurance. (See, e.g., Arrambula v. Wells (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1006, 1009; Rotolo Chevrolet v. Superior Court (2003) 105 Cal.App.4th 242.)
Section 3333.1 assumes that with the admission of evidence concerning collateral source benefits, the trier of fact would take the plaintiffs receipt of such benefits into account by reducing damages. (Barme v. Wood (1984) 37 Cal.3d 174, 179-180.) Importantly, the plaintiff is protected when evidence of collateral source benefits is introduced. Subdivision (b) of section 3333.1 provides that when evidence of collateral source benefits is introduced by a defendant, the provider of such benefits is precluded from recouping its payments either directly from the plaintiff or in a subrogation action against the defendant.
The effect of section 3333.1, thus, is to shift the cost of plaintiffs medical expenses from malpractice insurers to other insurers and entities, thereby effectuating MICRA's intent of reducing the costs of malpractice insurance and making sure that health care providers can afford to practice in California. (Ibid.; see also, American Bank & Trust Co. v. Community Hospital (1984) 36 Cal.3d 359, 371.) Section 3333.1 has been held constitutional. (Fein v. Permanente Medical Group (1985) 38 Cal.3d 137, 166 [due process and equal protection challenges]; Barme v. Wood, supra, 37 Cal.3d at 180.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.