What the Jury Doesn’t Know
During the course of handling a serious personal injury claim, we thoroughly:
1. Determine whether the party who is at fault in causing the injury is covered by an applicable insurance policy.
2. Determine the amount of available insurance coverage.
3. Attempt to obtain full and fair compensation for the injuries sustained from the liable party’s insurance carrier. What may come as a surprise to you is if the claim must be presented in court to a jury, the jury is not permitted to know:
o If the defendant is covered by insurance
o How much insurance is available for that coverage.
Knowledge Can Lead to Mistrial
Under Pennsylvania law, the jury may not be told anything about insurance coverage. If this information “slips out” in the evidence during a trial, it is grounds for a mistrial (the judge declares the trial over and it must be retried before a new jury.)
What is the rationale behind this rule? If the jury knows there is insurance coverage and how much, it might affect their rendering an impartial verdict.
It appears this rule favors the insurance companies and not the customer/consumer, because the jury assumes an individual defendant will have to pay a substantial verdict when, in reality, there is a large insurance policy available to cover the verdict.
If you have questions about this or any of the issues here, please contact us.