Automobile Liability Insurance Myths – Part 3 of 3
In the past two parts, I talked about how your car accident claim is handled prior to a lawsuit being filed. Here, I will discuss how your case is handled after a lawsuit is filed.
If you and your lawyer decide that a lawsuit is warranted, then your lawyer should explain to you that the lawsuit will be filed against the other driver personally. Only a few instances allow a lawsuit naming the insurance company as a named party such as against a commercial trucking company. Also, in Georgia we are typically not allowed to discuss insurance coverage in front of the jury. The underlying thoughts and theory behind this is that your claim is really against the person who caused the accident and not against that person’s insurance company.
Additionally, once your case gets to trial, you are not allowed to mention any of your dealings with the insurance company. The law considers these matters not relevant to how the accident occurred, whether you were injured, the extent of your injuries, and the amount of your damages such as your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The court may declare a mistrial if you even mention that the other driver is covered by liability insurance during the trial. The reasoning is that a jury is more likely to find against the defendant or give a higher verdict because the defendant is covered by insurance.
The reality is quite different - many jurors feel that you just brought a minor lawsuit against a fellow motorist over a car accident. Since the jury never hears about the other driver having insurance, they can only assume that the defendant was not covered by insurance. The jurors hear that the defendants attorney are hired and may have sympathy for the defendant and not want to award a high verdict. The jurors don't hear that the defendant's lawyers are hired by and paid for by the insurance company. But, the jurors may hear about any previous relationship between you, your lawyer, and your doctors.
This leads me to the last myth about automobile liability insurance. In Georgia, you are required to carry automobile liability insurance presumably to provide protection to those injured in a car accident. It would seem logical that the insurance companies answer to the very people the law was designed to protect, but the reality is not the case. The insurance industry enjoys huge profits from selling insurance policies that Georgia drivers are required to purchase, while also enjoying anonymity and immunity from its handling of the claims.
Car wrecks are challenging - physically, psychologically, and emotionally. If you need need proper representation to deal with the insurance company and your personal injury claim, then contact us at 404-610-4429 or fill out our form below. We represent clients throughout Atlanta and the State of Georgia that have suffered injuries at the hands of others.