Insurance Companies Mislead Jurors During Trial

William E. Johnson
February 25, 2014

Personal Injury Lawsuits and Insurance Companies

         In a civil case in the state of Florida, juries are not told whether or not a defendant has insurance. In the past, this was not the case. Before 1976, if a defendant had insurance, the insurance company could be joined in a personal injury lawsuit as a defendant. 
         In 1976, due to lobbying by the insurance industry, the Florida legislature passed Florida Statute 627.4136, the “Non-Joinder Statute,” prohibiting insurance companies from being joined as a defendant in a civil case for personal injury damages.  Subsection 3 of the statute allows insurance companies to include clauses in their contracts that prevent individuals from joining the company as a party defendant alongside the insured person prior to the verdict.  The insurance company can only be joined in an action once the verdict and damages have been decided by the jury, and only for the purposes of entering final judgment or enforcing settlements.
 
Inherently Misleading to Jurors
         Although the insurance company will be liable for the damages in the personal injury lawsuit, as well as the fees and costs associated with representation, the jury is lead to believe that the defendant will pay these costs out of her/her own pocket. Because of this statute, attorneys are not allowed to mention the following:
  1. The fact that a defendant has insurance or may be indemnified by insurance; 
  2. The type of coverage the defendant had; 
  3. How much coverage was in place at the time of the accident; and 
  4. Any statement of fact concerning the significant impact of the insurance company on the litigation itself.
Jurors in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
         It is almost never financially viable to litigate a personal injury action when the defendant does not carry liability insurance (in violation of Florida Statute 324.151). As a juror, you should understand that your verdict is highly unlikely to result in any major expense to the defendant who actually caused the alleged harm. Further, understand that the defense attorneys are not hired by, and are not there to protect the defendant—they are there to protect the interests and profits of the insurance company. 
 
        The Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A. handles personal injury cases, and serves Palm Beach County, Broward County, Dade County and the surrounding areas. If you have been injured due to the negligence or the wrongful act of another, which can occur through negligence, abuse and other means, please contact our firm for a free case evaluation.
         If you or your loved one has been injured because of a wrongdoer call a West Palm Beach injury lawyer at the Law Offices of William E. Johnson, P.A.  Schedule a free consultation today by calling 561-832-4848.