As a practical matter, in most lawsuits arising out of auto accidents, the jury never knows that the other driver has insurance.
This is old. It has been the law for over 100 years.
Why doesn’t the judge let the jury know about the insurance? Because lawmakers and insurance companies are afraid that if the jurors know that an insurance company is involved, they will award way more than the case is worth.
Because it is psychologically easier to tell a big insurance company to pay a lot of money than to tell that to someone who looks a lot like your next door neighbor – someone whose worst mistake might have been misjudging how much room he had to stop, or thinking about his job when he was supposed to be checking oncoming traffic at the stop sign.
There are cases when the insurance company does have to appear in court – usually when you file suit against your own insurance company, that is, in most cases, the uninsured or underinsured motorist carrier.
But usually, the insurance company just hires a lawyer to represent the person who caused the accident, and then they settle the case or pay any judgment against that person. And usually, the jury does not know about the existence of insurance – formally.
I think most jurors suspect heavily that the defendant is insured, but that is not the same as knowing, and making an award based on the knowledge.
Personally, I don’t like this. The jury learns about the victim’s health insurance, and maybe his or her auto insurance, because that company has a right to recover any benefits – like medical bills – they have paid because of the accident.
And I think: “Fair’s fair – what will be so harmful about learning that the guy who caused the accident has insurance?”
But then I look at my insurance bill. And I ask how badly I want to pay a higher premium. Because that is what will happen if the jury knows there is insurance. And that is why the law is what it is.
But you don’t need to just take this as a given. I make it my job to look for things that will give my clients an advantage. Suing the insurance company directly – which I do whenever I think I can make them appear in front of a jury – is just one of them.
If you want to know more about this, and about whether you can make the insurance company appear in court, you can call me, a Cincinnati Injury Lawyer. My phone is 513-621-4775. There is no charge for talking to me.
You don’t have to rely just on what you are reading. I would love to talk with you about this. Other lawyers refer their clients to me. And if you decide you‘d rather hire someone else, that’s OK.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.