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Court of Appeals Rules Defendant May Introduce Evidence That a Treating Physician Had a Financial Interest in the Outcome of a Personal Injury Action

In Stevens v. Castano-Castano, Ga. App. A18A0100 (June 27, 2018), the Court of Appeals held the collateral source rule did not preclude a defendant from introducing evidence that a treating physician had a financial interest in the outcome of a personal injury action. The Court held that the defendant simply sought to introduce evidence of the physician entering into an arrangement whereby the physician would be paid for the proceeds of the plaintiff's recovery. Thus, excluding the evidence did not serve the underlying rationale of the collateral source rule. The evidence to be introduced was not payment of plaintiff's medical bills by a third party, nor did it show write-off or waiver or reduction of the bill.

This is an increasingly common arrangement in personal injury claims. Allowing the introduction of the evidence is helpful to impeach the credibility of the treating physician and of plaintiff's attorney.

By: Richard Tisinger, Jr.

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