The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees parties in certain civil lawsuits to a right of a trial by jury. However, there are certain facts that I, as the attorney for the Plaintiff, am unable to disclose to jurors. While Defendants are allowed to show that a Plaintiff's bills have been paid by medical insurance, Plaintiffs are not allowed to disclose to the jury that the individual Defendant in the case has insurance coverage available to cover the Plaintiff's claims. Juries are often times left to wonder whether an individual Defendant has insurance coverage available to pay a potential verdict. If I am in the Courtroom trying the case, there is almost always sufficient liability insurance coverage available to pay any verdict rendered.
The parties are also prohibited from disclosing any settlement negotiations that may have occurred prior to the trial to juries. Generally, I am only representing my clients at a jury trial due to the fact that the undisclosed automobile insurance carrier has refused to make a fair and reasonable settlement offer. As a regular course of practice in low impact automobile accident cases with non-permanent injuries, insurance companies fail to make any offer that will reimburse an injured Plaintiff for his or her medical bills and attorneys' fees. In those situations, the insurers force attorneys to incur all the costs associated with preparing a case for trial including taking the parties' depositions and taking all doctors' depositions. These expenses and attorneys' fees are also prohibited from being disclosed to juries hearing the accident claims of victims. However, these costs to prepare a case for trial typically run into thousands of dollars even in the smallest cases as doctors bill attorneys to appear for depositions and the costs must be paid.
While it is very frustrating to incur all of these costs and to be forced to take potential jurors away from their everyday lives, injured victims deserve to be able to seek medical treatment after a accident and to be compensated for any such medical treatment as well as their additional elements of damages.
After a trial is over, I enjoy talking with jurors that have served on my cases, and there is no prohibition to former jurors calling my office once the case has concluded. I have even been retained by former jurors and family members of former jurors following the conclusion of trials on which they have served.