Injustice In Personal Injury Cases

One of the worst injustices facing our judicial system today is the failure to disclose to jurors that the defendants have liability insurance, their attorneys are hired "guns" paid by the insurance companies, and their insurance companies are calling the shots for the defense during the lawsuit. Most defendants have no risk at all during a lawsuit as long as they do what their insurance companies tell them to do. This is wrong, and jurors should be told the truth.

In many if not most lawsuits, the jurors believe that the amount of the verdict will come out of the defendant's pocket. Except in rare circumstances, that's not true. Many jurors believe that if they enter a significant verdict against a local hospital or local doctor, the hospital might close or the doctor will leave town. This is not true. The local hospital and the local doctor have insurance. If there is a significant verdict, the insurance company will pay it, and not a penny will be paid by the local hospital or local doctor.

In a simple car wreck case, the plaintiff (the innocent and injured driver) is forced to sue the negligent driver, rather than the negligent driver's insurance company. The plaintiff cannot sue the insurance company, even though the insurance company is the one denying the plaintiff's claims. Because the jurors are not told about insurance, they believe that a significant verdict will have to be paid by the negligent driver who is just another individual and not a rich, multinational insurance company. When entering a verdict in a car crash case, jurors just see the poor ol' defendant, and they think the verdict will come out of the poor ol' defendant's pocket. This is not true. Often, jurors believe that a significant verdict against an individual driver might force the driver into bankruptcy, which is also not true. The truth is the insurance company for the individual driver will pay the significant verdict, and nothing will ever be paid by the individual driver, even though he or she was negligent and caused the car wreck.

But there's more to the story. In the overwhelming majority of personal-injury lawsuits, the defendants do not even pay their attorney fees or court costs. Their insurance companies pay the defendant's attorney fees and court costs. In the overwhelming majority of personal-injury cases, the defendants have no risk whatsoever, even though they were negligent. The attorneys hired by the insurance companies get paid a lot of money, win or lose. In fact, attorneys hired by the insurance companies make more money by dragging out the case. Lawyers for the insurance companies bill by the hour. The more hours they bill the more money they make. This is wrong. The system should be changed, and jurors should be told about liability insurance, about how attorneys for insurance companies are paid, and about how the legal system truly works.

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