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Supreme Court restricts damages to amount paid to insurer

Last Thursday, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling that damages in personal injury cases must be restricted to the amount of money a victim pays to an insurer.

The case involved a woman who was injured in a truck accident caused by a Hamilton Meats & Provisions Inc. employee.  After the accident, the woman accumulated $190,000 in medical bills.  However, her health insurance provider, Pacificare of California, reached a settlement with the hospital for $59,691.

The victim sued to receive the total $190,000.  After an initial loss, the woman filed an appeal and won at the Fourth District Court of Appeals.  Hamilton filed an appeal against this decision with the Supreme Court.  The case raised the issue of whether or not a victim could receive damages equal to the total sum stated on the insurer’s bill even if this is not what they paid to the insurer.

The ruling stated, “We hold no such recovery is allowed, for the simple reason that the injured plaintiff did not suffer economic loss in that amount.”

If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident in San Diego, contact the San Diego personal injury attorneys of Ritter & Associates at 619-296-0123 to set up an appointment to meet with one of our lawyers.

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