When I tell my personal injury clients that the jury won’t know that the Defendant is covered by liability insurance most of them look at me like I have three eyes. That’s right, in Texas any mention of liability insurance during a jury trial will result in a mistrial and possible fines. Not only are the litigants prohibited from mentioning liability insurance they also must for all intents and purposes lead the jury to believe that the individual Defendant will have to personally pay the judgment. This is a law which was procured and is protected by the Texas insurance lobby. The theory behind the law is that if a jury knew that there was liability insurance covering an accident victim’s injuries the jury would be more likely to fully and fairly compensate the victim. The insurance companies hope that by forcing the litigants to pretend that the at fault party will have to personally pay the judgment the jury will feel sympathy for the Defendant and reduce the amount that they award. This way the insurance companies can legally get by with paying less than they owe. No, it’s neither fair nor just but it is Texas law.
Even Louisiana, which is often ridiculed in the legal world for having archaic laws, has passed a direct action statute pursuant to which the liability insurance company, which is the real party in interest, is made a party to the lawsuit when one of their insureds causes an accident. The fact that Texas continues to allow liability insurance companies to hide behind their insureds and deceive juries is a testament to the unchecked power of the Texas insurance lobby. Until Texas finds a way enact legislation without the corrupting influence of the liability insurance lobby we will continue to have laws that serve no purpose but to line the corporate coffers of the insurance companies.
For more information contact a Tyler Personal Injury Attorney today.