Telling the Jury About the Sued Party’s Insurance?
Why don’t lawyers tell the jury whether the person being sued has insurance?
Whether a person or company has insurance is not relevant to whether they are liable or how much the award should be. We all walk around with bias in some form or fashion. You may think the refs are always against your favorite team and you probably like your Mom more than other people. There is nothing wrong with having inherent human bias. But in a courtroom, the rules are set up to try to take emotion and sympathy away from juries, despite that fact that each member of the panel must be a human.
This is a contradiction of sorts in that we want our fellow humans to resolve disputes for us, but we don’t want them showing any natural human bias. I’ve always wondered what jurors are thinking when they aren’t told a word about insurance during a trial. They aren’t even told why they aren’t being told. It must be frustrating. Perhaps they assume there no insurance because it wasn’t mentioned? That would usually be an incorrect assumption since you can’t squeeze blood from a turnip and lawyers don’t like to waste their time. Perhaps they assume there is insurance? In a car wreck, there probably is since insurance is required under Mississippi law. Isn’t that something? Insurance is required, but jurors are supposed to pretend they don’t know about it. There is also probably insurance for most companies, doctors, or even lawyers who get sued. But the law is the law, and it is probably not going to change anytime soon. Jurors have got to decide cases based on the facts and they should ignore their human instincts to wonder whether this person has a source to pay for the damage they caused.
If any of you have ever served on a jury, we would love to hear your thoughts about what you were thinking about insurance. You can call me at 601-948-8005 if you would be so kind as to let me pick your brain. I’ll even be glad to send you a gift card for your time.