Published on:

Admissibility of Insurance Coverage in Georgia Personal Injury Trials

Whenever a plaintiff seeks compensation from a defendant for the defendant’s allegedly negligent actions, the burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff to submit evidence sufficient to establish liability. However, not all evidence will be admitted and considered by the finder of fact, whether it be a judge or jury. The Georgia Rules of Evidence govern which evidence a judge or jury can hear in deciding a case. One such rule is the inadmissibility of evidence that one party did not have insurance at the time of the accident.

caterpillar-625629_960_720A recent case decided by a Maryland appellate court illustrates the point. In the case of Perry v. Asphalt & Concrete Services, Inc., the plaintiff, Perry, was injured when he was struck by a dump truck as he was crossing the road. As a result of the collision, the man suffered serious injuries, including broken ribs and head trauma.

Perry filed a lawsuit against several parties, seeking compensation for his injuries. Specifically, he named the truck’s driver, the company that employed the truck driver, and Asphalt & Concrete Services (ACS), the company that contracted for the truck. The issue presented in this case involved only the claim that ACS was negligent in hiring the truck driver to help complete the job.

At trial, Perry attempted to introduce evidence that at the time of the accident, the truck driver was not insured. The plaintiff argued that this was a fact that ACS could have discovered had they looked into the truck driver’s background before hiring him, but they failed to do so. The trial court agreed with Perry and allowed the evidence to be considered by the jury. After a trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Perry for nearly $530,000, including almost $30,000 for past medical expenses and $500,000 for Perry’s pain and suffering related to the accident.

However, on ACS’ appeal, the high court determined that the trial court erred in allowing evidence of the truck driver’s lack of insurance under the applicable rules of evidence. Since the court felt as though the jury gave this evidence meaningful weight when determining liability, the court ordered a new trial.

Georgia’s Rules of Evidence

Like the rule of evidence applied in the case discussed above, the Georgia rules of evidence also prohibit the admission of a party’s lack of insurance to establish liability. This means that, unless there is another purpose for admitting the evidence, it cannot be considered by the jury in its determination as to the defendant’s negligence.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Georgia car or truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. As the case discussed above illustrates, proving a case against a negligent driver is not always as easy as it seems. Whether it be preparing for an anticipated defense, or overcoming hurdles to the admission of evidence, an attorney’s assistance can be invaluable in all personal injury cases. Call Miller Legal Services, a preeminent Georgia personal injury law firm, at 770-284-3727 to set up a free consultation with a dedicated attorney to discuss your case.

More Blog Posts:

Fairground Determined to Be Immune from Premises Liability Lawsuit, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 25, 2016.

Appellate Court Discusses the Age at Which Minors Can Be Held Individually Liable for Their Actions, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 11, 2016.