September 7, 2018
While many auto accident and personal injury cases settle before going to court, sometimes negotiations with the insurance company are unsuccessful and a lawsuit needs to be filed. In Kentucky, the lawsuit begins by filing a document called the Complaint. The injured party is the Plaintiff and the party who caused the injury is the Defendant. While the attorney for the Plaintiff has been negotiating with the Defendant’s insurance company for several months and there is no dispute the Defendant had insurance at the time of the accident, the jury in Kentucky is, under most all circumstances, not allowed to know whether the Defendant had insurance or not. Almost always, the lawsuit must be filed against the Defendant and not their insurance company. In many cases, the jury will ask the Judge whether the Defendant had insurance at the time of the accident, but the Judge is not allowed to answer the question. This leads to confusion with the jury. While the insurance companies love this rule, many attorneys representing Plaintiffs believe it is very unfair. A jury may be hesitant to award full damages if they believe the Defendant must pay for the damages out of their own pocket. And the whole time an insurance adjustor may be sitting in the audience observing the trial, or on the phone with the Defendant’s attorney during breaks. Common sense dictates that for a Plaintiff and their attorney to go through expensive and lengthy litigation the Defendant almost certainly had insurance. The good news is that common sense is still allowed in the courtroom.