Generally, when people are involved in car accidents, they will request each other’s insurance information before leaving the scene. While it is important for parties involved in a crash to obtain certain information from one another if a lawsuit arises out of the collision, the court may preclude them from introducing evidence of insurance at trial. In a recent Florida opinion in which the defendant argued the verdict was unjust due to references to insurance throughout the trial, an appellate court discussed the purpose of barring the introduction of evidence regarding insurance in car accident cases. If you were hurt in a collision, it is smart to speak to an experienced Florida car accident attorney about your potential claims.
The Accident and Trial
Reportedly, the defendant driver struck the plaintiff’s vehicle from behind while driving the defendant owner’s car. The plaintiff suffered injuries in the accident and subsequently sought damages from the defendants in a personal injury lawsuit. The defendants admitted liability but argued that the accident did not cause the plaintiff’s harm. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendants appealed.
Evidence of Insurance at Trial in Cases Arising Out of Car Accidents
The defendants’ primary argument on appeal was that the trial court did not take sufficient measures to preclude the introduction of evidence regarding insurance coverage during the trial, and therefore, caused them undue prejudice and warranted a new trial. The appellate court rejected their assertions and affirmed the jury’s verdict.
The appellate court noted that during the trial, insurance was only mentioned twice, during the plaintiff’s testimony regarding what happened immediately after the accident, and only the plaintiff’s insurance was mentioned. The appellate court explained that under Florida law, a mere mention or two of insurance is not adequate to render a trial unfair and require a new trial.
Further, case law provides that evidence of a defendant’s insurance should not be considered by a jury. The reason for this rule is that a jury may be inspired by evidence of insurance to assign liability where there is none or to award an excessive amount of damages due to sympathy for the insured and the reasoning that the burden would not be borne by the defendant. In the subject case, however, the court found that the rule did not apply. Specifically, no evidence regarding the defendant’s insurance coverage was introduced at trial. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the verdict in favor of the plaintiff.
Meet with a Trusted Florida Attorney
While the law generally prohibits the introduction of evidence of insurance at trial in car accident cases, merely mentioning a plaintiff has insurance should not render a verdict in favor of the plaintiff unjust. If you suffered injuries in a collision, it is prudent to meet with an attorney regarding what evidence you need to produce to recover damages. The trusted Florida car accident lawyers of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can advise you of your rights and help you to seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 800-283-7442 to schedule a conference.