One of the things that occurs regularly when we go to trial on a case is that the jury never hears anything about insurance except for a brief period of time in jury selection (also known as voir dire). This includes car insurance as well as health insurance. So why is that?
Jurors do get to hear about car insurance in some States, but in Colorado, there is a Rule of Evidence which prohibits the introduction of insurance into a case except under very limited circumstances. Most judges simply do not allow any evidence of insurance to come into the case. The reason for this Colorado public policy is that jurors should make their decisions based solely upon the evidence presented and they should not be distracted by insurance considerations. The justification for this policy is the belief that if jurors hear evidence at trial of the fact that the defendant has automobile insurance, they just might reach excessive verdict amounts based upon the belief that insurance companies can pay them.
In reality, the way this policy works is that because jurors are not hearing about insurance, they often assume that there is insurance. But they don’t just assume automobile insurance, they also assume that there is health insurance. The typical result is that jurors take insurance into consideration which often leads to juries reducing the compensation they give to an injured person because they think health insurance is there to pay those bills. Oddly enough, I don’t see jurors increasing the amounts of compensation because they believe there is automobile insurance, just health insurance.
The result is that if you end up in trial on your case, you may not receive the entire amount of compensation that you are entitled to. The issue of insurance has to be discussed with jurors in jury selection to try and make them understand their job is solely to decide what the actual value of the injured party’s harms and losses (damages) are, not what some jurors are guessing should be the value if insurance was involved. Insurance is addressed in a court case, it is just not something that is or should be decided by a jury and you want to make sure you have an attorney who understands that.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call our office at 719-633-6620 for a free initial consultation.