After being involved in a serious car accident, I really believed that my insurance company would take care of everything. It wasn't until I finally received their settlement offer that I realized they were not on my side at all. This is when I got wise and consulted a personal injury lawyer. It was the best decision I could have made. Thanks to my attorney, not only did I learn a lot about personal injury law, but I actually got the compensation that I needed and deserved. I made a lot of mistakes after my accident, but I also learned a lot along the way. It is my hope that this blog will allow other accident victims to learn from common mistakes and get the information they need to be successful in their own personal injury claims.
It's never good to underestimate the contribution of an accident attorney to a case. One of the contributions of the lawyer is that he or she understands the intricacies of trials. As a layman, you may not even know what may or may not be admitted as evidence in court. For example, here are three surprising things that the judge may not allow you to use as evidence.
The Defendant's Liability Insurance
In some jurisdictions, such as Alabama, the court will not allow you (the plaintiff) or your attorney to mention that the defendant has ability insurance coverage. There are a couple of major reasons for this. First, some people assume that anybody who doesn't have auto liability insurance is a reckless person who is likely to be negligent in an accident.
Secondly, courts are of the opinion that mentioning the defendant's insurance coverage implies there is money to pay the damages, which may encourage a favorable outcome for you. In fact, this is such a strict rule that some judges will even declare a mistrial if you or your defense team "mistakenly" mentions the insurance issue.
Another thing you are not allowed to mention is the settlement offer you received from the insurance company before the trial. This is partly because mentioning such figures would sway the jury one way or the other. For example, claiming that the insurance adjuster offered you at $10,000, which you refused, may make the jury award you a higher amount if it finds the defendant liable for your injuries.
Taking your case to trial is like starting the case afresh; you may end up with less or more money than what the insurer offered before. Have this in mind before opting for a trial. It certainly pays to listen to your attorney's advice because he or she has a wealth of experience in these issues and may make an informed prediction about the direction your case may take in a trial.
In most cases, you will not be allowed to use the police report as evidence in your trial. This is because the police officers were not there when the accident happened, and, therefore, did not witness it. As such, the report may be nothing more than hearsay. There are only a few exceptions where hearsay may be admitted as evidence.
However, even if the police report is not admitted as evidence, you may still use it as a source of factual information and to strengthen your claims during negotiations. Therefore, it's essential to wait for the police and give your statement before driving from an accident scene. Contact a company like James Lee Katz for more information.Share