Evidence of Insurance in Personal Injury Trials | A jury must not consider whether any of the parties in a lawsuit have insurance. The presence or absence of insurance is totally irrelevant. A jury must decide a case based only on the law and the evidence | #KnowYourInjuryRights | (619) 550-3617.
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Insurance in Personal Injury Trials | Evidence Code Sect. 1555
Evidence that a person was at the time of their accident insured wholly or partially against any loss arising from liability for the harm they caused is inadmissible to prove negligence or other wrongdoing against them. Evidence Code sect. 1155.
Insurance in Personal Injury Trials | Relevancy
As a general rule, evidence that a party to a lawsuit has insurance is both irrelevant and prejudicial. Neumann v. Bishop (1976) 59 Cal.App.3d 451, 469.
Evidence that is determined by the trial judge to be irrelevant and prejudicial is excluded from evidence at the time of trial.
- The court in its discretion may exclude evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the probability that its admission will (a) necessitate undue consumption of time or (b) create substantial danger of undue prejudice, of confusing the issues, or of misleading the jury. Evidence Code sect. 352.
Insurance in Personal Injury Trials | The Collateral Source Rule
Generally, evidence that an injured party was insured is not admissible under the collateral source rule. Helfend v. Southern California Rapid Transit Dist. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 1, 16–18.
The Collateral Source Rule provides that any benefit received by an injured party from a source which is entirely independent of and collateral to the party who is responsible for the person’s injuries will not serve to reduce the damages otherwise recoverable from the wrongdoer.
Example Scenario 1: Pat is rear-ended by Junior. Junior rear-ended Pat because he was not paying attention to the stopped traffic in front of him. Pat suffers injuries and is transported by ambulance to UCSD Medical Center. Pat’s medical bills total $43,000.00. Pat’s health insurance pays these bills. At the time of trial though, Pat may claim the $43,000.00 in medical expenses as part of the economic damages he sustained for being rear-ended by Junior.
Practice Pointer: In this scenario (or most like it), Pat will not end up with a $43,000.00 windfall. Pat’s medical insurance will either file a lien against him for any recovery of the medical bills claimed by Pat but which it paid, or make claim for reimbursement against him pursuant to their medical insurance contract. Hence, my office would negotiate a reduction of the $43k so that Pat would recover some of the medical expense because of all the pain, suffering, time and anxiety he went through in order to recover for his injuries – which otherwise would not have been recovered at all.
Ordaz Law, APC | Insurance in Personal Injury Trials
Have you or a love one been a victim of a personal injury? Do you feel like you are entitled to injury compensation for the pain and suffering you have suffered? If your answer to both questions is yes, then it is time that you seek legal representation from a premier San Diego personal injury lawyer. Based in central San Diego County, Juan J. Ordaz Jr. and his law office, Ordaz Law, APC, is always ready to help any individual and their families suffering from an injury producing incident that should never have happened in the first place. Read More
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Blog: Personal Injury
Sources and Useful Links:
CACI – 105. Insurance