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The post below was published on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 at 9:35 PM.

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First District: Insurance, Collateral Source Rule

This decision invites a thorough look into the workings of the collateral source rule. How does it apply to damages? How does it limit evidence affecting liability? Does it apply in contract actions? Or only tort actions?

The First District wended its way along those paths in a case involving an insured seeking windstorm coverage for his home. The trial court excluded evidence that the insured had previously claimed and recovered benefits under a separate flood insurance policy. The district court reversed that ruling, holding that the collateral source rule did not bar the introduction of evidence the insured claimed and received flood insurance benefits except for the dollar amount recovered.

Judge Van Nortwick dissented on this point. In his view, the collateral source rule should preclude the introduction of all such evidence.

If I did not need to move quickly through so many cases to catch up here, I would pause to offer some thoughts on the rule and its application. The rule is a fascinating topic, and it is a bit odd that Florida has not yet firmly staked out its position on how it should be applied in such cases.

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