Howell v. Hamilton Meats is the most significant insurance case to come down in over 40 years.  Not only does the case change the way California interprets the collateral source rule but it has begun impacting the way damages are argued. 

In Howell v. Hamilton Meats, the Supreme Court of California settled the argument by determining that the lower contracted rates are the reasonable and customary medical fees for the purpose of determining damages. According to an article by a retired Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, “the negotiated rate differential (the difference between the medical provider’s customary charges and the charge it agrees to receive as payment-in-full from plaintiff’s insurance) is not a collateral benefit recoverable by plaintiff under the collateral source.”