Insurance Company Concealment
Insurance Companies do their best to hide their involvement in lawsuits. They have done this by paying lobbyists and/or lawyers to obtain favorable court rulings and/or legislation which allow them to conceal their participation.
For example, if a person ( we will call her Ms. Jones) was injured in a car crash caused by the negligence of Mr. Smith, Ms Jones files a lawsuit to be compensated for her injuries. Let’s further assume that Mr. Smith is insured by Gigantic Insurance. In this example, Gigantic would hire and pay lawyers to defend Mr. Smith.
Ms. Jones cannot correctly sue Gigantic Insurance for her injuries even though they are responsible for paying any verdict against Mr. Smith up to their policy limits. Ms Jones has to sue Mr. Smith, not the insurance company. In fact, neither Ms. Jones nor her lawyers are allowed to mention that Gigantic Insurance Co. insures Mr. Smith at trial.
Illinois law states that a party’s insurance company cannot be mentioned during a jury trial to protect them from an unfair verdict. However, this isn’t the only reason Insurance Companies want to hide. They want to keep the jury in the dark about their participation, so they hide behind individual’s names.
Once the claim process is started, Mr. Smith loses all control of the situation. Gigantic Insurance decides which lawyer to hire without Smith’s input. Gigantic Insurance decides whether to and/or how much money to offer to settle the case without Smith’s input. Gigantic Insurance decides whether to try the case without Smith’s input. Is it really appropriate to let Gigantic hide, when they play such a major role in the lawsuit?
jurors might be reluctant to award a legally justified large verdict
There is a second major reason why insurance companies want to hide. They hope that the lack of evidence of insurance will persuade the jury to render a unfairly low verdict. Example, Jones is badly injured by Smith’s negligent driving. During trial, the Smith’s insurance lawyers will be allowed to elicit testimony that he is a blue collar worker with wife and 2 kids. Some jurors might be reluctant to award a legally justified large verdict because the Jones is likeable and won’t be able to pay a large award. Even though the jury is instructed not to take this into account, it happens all of the time.
If you wondered why the law is this way, remember State Farm and Allstate are both headquartered in Illinois. The insurance lobby carries serious weight in Springfield.
comments powered by
Posted on Wed, May 4, 2016
by Thomas Tobin III