There are hundreds of thousands of accidents that occur in Florida each year. These accidents range from car accidents,
motorcycle accidents,dog bite accidents,
slip and fall accidents, industrial accidents, etc. Many of these accidents result in someone sustaining a
personal injury or even
death and some of these cases ultimately require a jury trial for final determination. Issues decided by the jury include liability, damages, comparative fault, etc.
As a firm handling only personal injury cases for injured persons, we are often ask by our clients and persons who have served on juries in cases we have tried, "did the person who caused the accident have any insurance to cover this accident?" While the answer to this question is almost always "yes", Florida law prohibits introduction of evidence to the jury concerning insurance coverage for a defendant. The thought being that if a jury knew there was insurance coverage available and that any award handed down by the jury was not coming out of the pocket of the defendant himself/herself, juries would be more willing to award money damages to a plaintiff injured in an accident. Unfortunately, the flip side of this is devastating to a plaintiff. Without the jury knowing there is insurance coverage available for a defendant in a trial, the jury can be sympathetic to the defendant and assume he/she does not have the means to pay a verdict rendered by a jury. This little known insurance company secret that is codified in the Florida Rules of Evidence has surely saved the insurance industry hundreds of milliions of dollars over the years unfortunately, to the detriment of the injured person in the accident.
So, the next time you are serving on a jury, reading about a jury verdict in an accident trial, watching a video clip on television about an accident trial, etc., know full well that the attorney defending the person who caused the accident in the trial is being paid for by his/her insurance company. Likewise, any verdict handed down by the jury is being paid for by that insurance company and not by the defendant himself/herself.