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Plaintiff's Attempt at Double Recovery Barred

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February 2021

Attorneys Ed Taylor and Ryne Hand represented the driver of a vehicle which was driven into a liquor store. The collision caused significant damage to the store and the driver’s insurer quickly paid all damages requested by the store and its property insurer. However, the liquor store then sued the driver and attempted to recover again for the same items of damages it had already been paid for.  Defendant driver filed a summary judgment motion arguing the store no longer possessed the rights to recover as those rights were transferred to its insurer pursuant to policy provisions and, in any event, the store was no longer damaged and made whole. The store opposed the motion on the grounds that Defendant's argument was barred by the collateral source rule, an evidentiary rule which, in some instances, prohibits the introduction of insurance payments received by a plaintiff from a collateral source. The Circuit Court of Harrison County agreed with Defendant's position and granted summary judgment, holding the store transferred its rights to its insurer by the operation of its insurance policy and no longer possessed the right to recover against the driver of the vehicle.