Insurance moneyWhat about “suing the insurance company”?  Well, here is another fact you probably thought you knew but may be wrong.  In a typical car wreck/ tractor-trailer truck wreck, you don’t sue the insurance company.   Even though the whole case has insurance all over it in every facet of it, there is no mention to a jury that there is liability insurance.   You cannot list the insurance company on your complaint as a defendant.  The defendant gets a free lawyer with every dime of their high hourly fees paid for by the insurance company.  Every penny in (almost) every single case is paid for 100% by the insurance company.   And here you have the defendant sitting there in court with their insurance lawyer, and the defendant is looking all poor and pitiful and some on the jury may feel sorry for them, and some jurors may worry about hurting this lady’s pocketbook when it is all a (another) big lie. 

Jurors in Tennessee are never told there is an insurance policy covering the defendant.  Yet there it is, all over the courtroom and has stunk up the path to the courtroom, and jurors never know it.  Oh… they suspect it, for sure.  But there is a specific instruction that instructs them to “not consider” whether there is insurance covering the defendant, or not.  But in every case I have ever tried (and I have tried a lot) insurance is there.  IN EVERY SINGLE CASE.

Think about going to trial from the plaintiff’s perspective.  You can’t get blood out of a turnip.  If a defendant does not have insurance, he is likely penniless and judgment proof.   It takes a lot of money to get a case to trial.   Depositions cost money to the plaintiff.  Doctors’ depositions cost a lot more.  It is simply not worth it to go to trial to get a judgment against a poor person who has no insurance.   It’s no good for the plaintiff, and it is a waste of judicial resources most times.  Yet, people on juries are swayed into the false thinking there is no insurance available many times, and the defense lawyers love it.  Why? They want your sympathy.  And they want you to use that sympathy to send the plaintiff out of that courtroom on their ear without a dime being paid to the plaintiff.  Some of you may think that is funny.  Wait until it happens to you.   

So, now you know.  If you are ever a juror in a civil trial involving money damages, there is almost a 100% chance there is insurance all over that courtroom, lots of it, and the defendant will never have to pay a penny for anything that is related to the case.  Nothing.  That’s part of the insurance policy.  You get a lawyer paid for by the insurance company to represent you, and it costs you nothing.  Insurance pays it all. 

John Griffith
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Nashville Personal Injury Trial Attorney
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