Use of Medical Funding Companies Opens Pandora’s Box to Impugn Treater’s Testimony
The plaintiff in a slip and fall case sought to exclude evidence at trial in federal court related to her use of a third-party company that referred her to treating physicians and purchased her medical debt at a discounted rate. In a move that sidesteps the collateral source rule, the Eleventh Circuit held defendants may introduce evidence of a plaintiff’s use of medical funding companies in personal injury cases. The court reasoned such evidence could establish bias on the part of the treating doctor who might testify in such a way as to obtain further referrals from the medical funding company that relies on the success of the plaintiff at trial. This decision is viewed by the defense bar as “a groundbreaking victory” to allow evidence disclosing the relationship between the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, the doctor and the medical funding company and expand the scope of discovery in such cases.