Inability Recover Medical Expenses for Injury Due Payments from Independent Source
The collateral source rule does not require the insurer to duplicate medical expenses reimbursed by health insurance company when that reimbursement is not supported by independent consideration. Brown v. Nationwide Insurance Company, Del.Supr., 574 A.2d 841 (1990).
The collateral source rule was first recognized in Delaware in Yarrington v. Thornburg, 58 Del. 152, 205 A.2d 1 (1964). Under this rule, a tortfeasor has no right to any mitigation of damages because of payments from an independent source. Id. at 12.
The rule "is predicated upon the theory that a tortfeasor has no interest in, and therefore, no right to benefit of monies received by the injured person for sources unconnected with the defendant." 205 A.2d at 2.
The Delaware Supreme Court in State Farm Mutual Insurance Company v. Nalbone, Del.Supr., 569 A.2d 71 (1989) applied principles of contract law rather than tort law to a no fault insurance case.
The Nalbone court refused to turn a blind eye to the prospect of double recovery. Whether double recovery is permitted depends on the contractual expectation of the parties.
Thus, if a person pays a premium for both auto insurance and health insurance, he is entitled to double recovery because the insured has paid consideration for recovery from a collateral source. Any consideration will support recovery but the consideration must not be speculative.