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auto/injury court

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in a california court case auto/personal injury how do you get around not being allowed to use the word "insurance" in the court room?



I am a law school graduate. What I offer is mere information, not to be construed as forming an attorney client relationship.

In order for anyone on this board to help you, we need to know a little more. What a bizarre question...Is there an attorney/judge preventing you or someone you know from using the word insurance for evidentiary reasons? hearsay or something?

Hmmm. How about that thing people purchase to protect their car when it gets into an accident so they can recover money for damages or injuries. Longwinded but that is essentially what insurance is.


I think I know what crash is talking about.

I'm not an expert and I've never been to law school. This is just what I believe to be true but that doesn't make it so.

Now I am assuming that you are a plaintiff in an Auto PI suit and you want to be able to introduce to a jury details about the defendants insurance. I'm also assuming that your atty has correctly informed you not to mention it in open court. I'm assuming that he did so because california laws are similar/same as Florida laws in this matter.

If these assumtions are correct I was in your shoes a few months ago. Unless the defendant broaches the subject first you can't bring up any info about his Ins. in front of a jury or it could/will be grounds for mistrial. I don't know why I only know my Atty. advised me in this regard. It's probably prejedicial? because a jury verdict ammount may be influenced by policy limits if they are known to the jury. Numbers you can show a jury aside from material damage, out of pocket expense related to payments made to others to do chores etc, that you did before injury and can't do now, and wage loss are very limited. You can only inform them of the ammount of your medical bills that are outstanding OR if your health ins has to pick up the tab and they excersise their right of subrogation you can inform the jury. If subrogation is waived and your med bills are paid forget it,,even if the jury did find out you had say...medical treatments which amounted to $80,000.00 and the jury awarded it to you the defendants Ins. Co. can take it out of the total award and not pay it.

Now if the defendant brings up his Ins. company or policies at trial or in deposition, It's fair game, and you can introduce to the jury any material facts concerning his Ins. coverage. My Atty has had cases where the defendant let his mouth get a little too loose and mentions it in passing, OR while answering an unrelated question to the horor of the defendants Atty. He has also had the other extreme, where his client/plaintiff became so enraged during cross that he actualy jumped from the stand pointing at the Ins. reps in the gallery and proclaimed how they had hauled him over coals for 3 years. Big MISTRIAL.

If the defendant in MY case was not prepped by his ATTY or he disregarded his advice he may have mentioned his Ins. in answering some of the questions I had prepared for him.
If however, the defendant is properly advised and keeps his trap shut there isn't really a way to show the jury any coverage details or info. It was a moot point in my case though. Rearended at a redlight and After two and a half years filled with PT, surgery, strength loss, a cadavers bone in my neck, etc (hope you or anyone never has to go through anything like I did) we get close to trial, and Lo! The defendant started to pressure his Ins. Co. to settle as hard as he could.

;) I raised my claim to double the policy limits which put his business in real jeapordy. Then made a reasonable offer of judgement at an ammount that was less than limits but still most of it . They had no choice in my case. They strung me as long as they could. Finaly agreeing to everything I wanted on the court house steps enroute to the motions in limine hearing :)

My heart and help goes out to any who have suffered similarly and have the added anguish of making an Ins. company do what it is supposed to. Never let them get away with their tactics to string you along and lowball you.

Good Luck

A still recovering Pa. Citizen

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