The end of the road for any
personal injury case is a jury trial. Jury trials are risky endeavors and both sides of
a lawsuit often make every effort to settle a case without having to have
a jury trial. But sometimes they can’t be avoided. What the jury
hears when you do have to go to court, however, is not the whole story.
Judges are the gate-keepers of the evidence. They decide what evidence
the jury gets to hear based on case law, court rules, and statutes. Here
are some of things that the law says a jury can’t hear.
Insurance. For the most part, the jury doesn’t get to hear if any
of the parties has insurance. For example, in a
motor vehicle collision trial, the jury doesn’t get to hear that the defendant driver has
liability insurance or that the injured plaintiff has health insurance.
Responding officer’s opinion on who’s at fault for an accident.
Unless a police officer responding to a motor vehicle accident witnessed
the collision, the officer cannot testify about who he or she thinks was
at fault. And, unless the officer is a professional accident reconstructionist,
he or she can’t testify about how the accident happened. The police
officer can only testify about his or her observations at the accident scene.
Settlement offers. If there have been any settlement negotiations or really
any attempt at settling a case, a jury doesn’t get to hear about
it. Oftentimes, the reason a personal injury case goes to trial is because
the negligent party’s insurance company is not offering enough money,
or because the injured party wants too much money. However, how much money
an insurance company offered and how much money an injured person wanted
cannot be told to the jury.
There are several other types of evidence juries don’t get to hear.
If you have a personal injury case and are curious about evidence admissibility
at trial, give our firm a call. We have ample experience trying cases
and can answer your questions. Contact us today to schedule your free