Insurance Information Generally Not Admissible in Injury Cases
Why you probably can't sue an insurance company for your accident. Many of my clients ask me why I donít file suit against the at-fault driverís insurance company. After all, it is the insurance companyís adjuster who I have been negotiating with for months before filing suit. The reason I donít name the insurance company in the lawsuit is that generally, Georgia law says I canít.
Itís known as the ďCollateral Source RuleĒ, and basically it says that any form of payment that either party may receive due to the accident is a ďcollateral sourceĒ and not admissible in evidence. The reasoning is that the State of Georgia wants juries to decide these cases based upon the facts of the case, not who is paying the bill.
This applies to both sides in a personal injury action. On the plaintiffís side, the jury wonít know if his medical bills have been paid for by insurance, the theory being that an at-fault defendant should not reap the benefits because the plaintiff was wise enough to get health insurance. On the defendantís side, the jury wonít know that he has automobile liability insurance, the theory being that the jury will award more money if they know an insurance company may pay the judgment, not the defendant personally.
There are some exceptions to this rule, the biggest being trucking cases. A plaintiff is allowed to name a trucking companyís insurance company as a defendant in a trucking accident lawsuit. Also, in a case where the defendant driver is uninsured or under insured, the plaintiff can serve a copy of the lawsuit on his own insurance company, and they have the option to respond to the lawsuit in their own name, if they wish to do so. However, in most other cases the jury will never know insurance is involved, even though they will be the ones paying the judgment after the case is tried. In fact, in a personal injury action, the defendantís attorney is even provided free to the defendant, but the jury will again never know that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Norman Miller, Attorney at Law
Norman Miller has been practicing law for nearly 30 years. He is the owner and founder of Miller Legal Services, LLC. He began his legal career in the public sector, working for the Jones County District Attorney's Office, and later the Fulton County Solicitor's Office, where he obtained invaluable trial experience prosecuting criminal cases.
In 1989, Mr. Miller began representing major insurance companies such as Liberty Mutual, Wausau, One Beacon and Prudential, adding 18 years of experience defending personal injury cases. Mr. Miller knows how insurance companies and their adjusters operate and knows how to get an optimum settlement for you. If your case should need to go to trial, Mr. Miller has tried more than 100 jury trials in his career, with a success rate of well over 90%.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.