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Five Truths the Jury Won’t Hear

For various reasons, juries in personal injury cases are not informed of several truths. We list them here to provide a better basis to predict what a jury is likely to do with your case should it proceed to trial. Keep in mind, of course, that the vast majority of cases settle long before trial.

1. The Defendant HAS Insurance. Most people are completely unaware that juries are never told the defendant has insurance which pays any judgment. In fact, thanks to misleading television commercials by insurance companies like Allstate, many jurors may believe that any judgment in favor of the plaintiff will lead to financial ruin for the defendant.

2.The defendant’s lawyers are paid by the defendant’s insurance company.

3.The defendant usually has no say over whether the case settles or not. All of the strings behind the scene are pulled by the defendant’s insurance company. An insurance adjuster and not the defendant decides how much to offer to settle a case. In most cases it makes no difference if the defendant wants to settle. In fact, in most cases the defendant would happily settle the case within his or her policy limits if he or she had the choice.

4.The defendant’s “independent” doctors are anything but. In most cases, the defendant’s insurance company hires a so-called “independent medical examiner.” The reality is these doctors often earn close to a million dollars a year doing examinations for insurance companies. And we are all aware of the adage-don’t bite the hand that feeds you. I suppose it isn’t surprising that results of these “independent” examinations are not only predictable, but often at odds with the person’s treating doctor’s findings.

5.The plaintiff’s health insurance company must be paid back. Strangely, jurors are not informed who paid a plaintiff’s medical expenses. Many jurors assume correctly that these bills are often paid by health insurance. What these jurors fail to realize is that the health insurance company must be paid back. Thus, in many cases jurors wrongfully believe the plaintiff gets a windfall if they provide compensation for medical expenses. This can result in a jury not awarding for medical expenses clearly caused by a defendant’s careless conduct.

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