Tell Jurors The Truth
I represent people who have suffered serious personal injury or wrongful death in car accidents, drunk driving accidents, trucking accidents, construction accidents, and really any type of case where a Hoosier is injured as a result of another person who is not responsibly careful. When we ask a jury to help us decide whether the person was not responsibly careful, and if so, what the compensation is for the injured Hoosier, we face a lot of prejudice. The insurance industry has done an effective job convincing the public that anyone who has been injured because another person was not responsibly careful, and who asks that person to be responsible for making up for the harm caused, is a cheater, out to get something for nothing.
Well, I am not going to try and convince you this is right or wrong. I am asking , however that the playing field be level at trial. To this end, I say let’s stop lying to the jury. The insurance industry has also been able to convince the powers that be that jurors are not smart enough to handle the truth, and that we must hide the truth from them. Some examples:
- No one can inform the jury that the defendant, if he/she has liability insurance, will not have to pay any defense costs or the judgment entered against them. This is all paid by the defendants insurance company. The insurance industry argues that if jurors know this information they will unfairly return verdicts based on that information. On the other hand, the industry is perfectly happy to benefit from the possibility that jurors may feel sorry for the defendant (they don’t want them to go bankrupt) so they do not decide a fair amount of compensation. I don’t think jurors do this either, but that’s not the point. The point is, if we are after the truth in a trial then let’s start by being honest with the jurors. Hoosiers are smart.
- In Indiana the Medical Malpractice Act places a cap on the amount of damages an injured person can receive, and jurors cannot be told this fact. For example, a baby is injured at birth, and the evidence shows the doctor was drunk during the delivery and that drunkenness caused the baby to be seriously and permanently injured. The jurors hear all the evidence and decide that to take care of the baby, it will cost $10,000,000.00 dollars. After they have been dismissed, the judge will have to reduce their judgment to $1,250,000.00 because state law requires the judge to do so. That law is unfair, but knowing it will not change the jurors ability to do anything about it. So, why not just tell them the truth?
We cannot achieve justice and find the truth if we are lying to the persons making the decisions. I say lets tell the jury the truth. This is not a liberal or a conservative point of view. It is just the truth.