Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

What a Jury Doesn't Hear

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 consultation.