I recently represented a client who sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident. In preparing for trial, I encountered several issues very common in these types of cases.

The defendant was issued a traffic ticket. The traffic court Judge believed the defendant caused the wreck and convicted him. However, in the civil case to recover for his injuries, the Jury is not permitted to hear about the conviction.

Further, the investigating officer is not allowed to reconstruct the wreck. The officer is only allowed to testify about what he observed at the scene, location of skid marks, cars and debris, etc. The officer cannot offer his opinion as to which driver was at fault. The jury must decide, based on the facts, who they believe was responsible.

The at-fault driver’s (defendant) insurance carrier paid for the damage done to my client’s vehicle. This is an admission of responsibility that the jury should be permitted to hear. WRONG! After paying for the property damage, the defendant’s insurance company later claimed the accident was my client’s fault.

My client sustained serious orthopedic injuries. His medical expenses and lost wages totaled nearly $250,000.00.   Fortunately, the defendant in this case had liability insurance coverage of $1,000,000.00.  The jury should certainly be permitted to know how much insurance is available, correct? WRONG!

The plaintiff is not permitted to tell the jury how much insurance coverage is available. This often leaves the jury wondering about whether a substantial verdict will hurt the defendant personally.   This presents a challenge for plaintiffs in a personal injury case and it was a big issue in this particular case.

The defendant was a very nice, older gentleman with a southern accent. I knew the jury would like him. I also knew the jury may be worried about whether he had purchased enough insurance to cover the plaintiff’s claim.

If I was suing a large corporation because one of their trucks ran over my client, I wouldn’t worry a bit. The jury certainly would understand that the corporation had plenty of insurance coverage. Not the case with the southern gentleman, driving a 1999 Buick.