Things not allowed in the courtroom:
In North Carolina evidence of insurance is typically not admissible in court – Danny Glover
Proof of Insurance
This applies to both automobile, homeowners, business and umbrella liability insurance coverages, as well as health insurance.
Unfortunately, the fact that neither side to a lawsuit can tell the jury about how much liability or health insurance the other side has often complicates the case and/or confuses the jury.
Many times a jury incorrectly concludes that a plaintiff who is suing for injuries has already received all of the other person’s automobile insurance and is in court simply to try to get the other person’s personal money or assets.
Or, sometimes the jury concludes that the responsible person must have no insurance or the case would have already been settled with the insurance company.
See More: Personal Injury Cases in Eastern NC
This is almost never true, as insurance companies typically will not pay any money for injuries or losses until or unless the entire case has been resolved.
Therefore, if you are ever sitting on the jury of a personal injury case, never assume that the plaintiff has already been paid anything, because most of the time the plaintiff has not been paid anything, and never assume that the responsible person does not have insurance, because most of the time they do.
Juries also often incorrectly conclude that the plaintiff’s health insurance has already paid all of the medical bills.
See More: North Carolina Rules of Evidence
This is also often untrue, as many health insurance companies, as well as Medicare, are considered secondary payors that do not have to pay until the primary insurance company, i.e. the automobile liability insurance company, has paid what it owes.
Further, more and more medical providers, including our local hospital, are refusing to bill health insurance companies for car wreck medical treatment.
This is because the hospital or other medical provider is trying to get paid more from the car wreck settlement than it would be paid by the person’s health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
If you are ever sitting on the jury for a personal injury case, you should assume that none of the medical bills have been paid – Danny Glover
These things often result in a person being injured through no fault of their own but being unable to use their own health insurance while at the same time having to deal with an automobile or homeowners insurance company that will not pay a fair settlement.
In fact, is you are going to assume anything, it would be that none of the medical bills have been paid.
Besides, if some of the medical bills have already been paid by health insurance, oftentimes the plaintiff will have to reimburse the health insurance company, especially Medicare, Medicaid and other government benefit sources, from any personal injury settlement or recovery that the plaintiff receives, which is yet another thing that a jury is often not allowed to hear about.
In most court cases neither side is allowed to mention or present evidence of any previous settlement negotiations or previous settlement offers by either side.
The applies in both criminal and civil lawsuits.
Again, it would be a mistake to assume that one or both sides has not already tried to settle or resolve the case.
Most times, there have already been extensive settlement negotiations, but the two parties to the case, for any number of reasons, have been unable to resolve the case short of a trial.
Danny Glover, Jr.
Glover Law Firm
Past President, North Carolina Advocates for Justice