In Illinois, the collateral source rule bars defendants from submitting evidence that plaintiffs received compensation for their injuries from a collateral source. For example, if a plaintiff is injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, often the plaintiff’s insurance company will cover part of the plaintiff’s medical expenses even before the plaintiff files a lawsuit against the tortfeasor. In that example, the defense is prohibited from submitting evidence regarding that compensation. The purpose of this rule is to prevent defendants from reducing or eliminating the amount of damages they are liable for. On May 21, 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court defined the outer limits of this rule in Mary Lewis, et al. v. Lead Industries Association, et al. (Atlantic Richfield Company, et al.),[1] holding that plaintiffs cannot use the collateral source rule to establish the injury element of a cause of action. The Lewis plaintiffs argued that the cost of the lead testing, which had been covered entirely by Medicaid, should be recoverable pursuant to the collateral source rule. The Court was unconvinced and ruled that pure economic loss claims in which a plaintiff cannot establish actual out-of-pocket expenses will fail and the collateral source rule will not provide the necessary support to overcome that hurdle in Illinois.
Continue Reading Lewis Court Rejects the Use of the Collateral Source Rule to Establish Injury-in-Fact