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Alison De Villiers
Alison De Villiers
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Who Pays the Verdict in a Personal Injury Case?

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I recently ended a jury trial and at the conclusion, one of the jurors raised her hand and asked the judge whether or not the verdict would be paid by an insurance company. In that case, yes, Allstate was responsible for paying the verdict. But, unfortunately, it appeared to the jury that the deceased Defendant’s Estate would be the ones paying the verdict.

Many jurors may not know it, but in most personal injury cases, the verdict is paid by the insurance company of the Defendant. The laws restrict those injured by another from suing the insurance company or mentioning that the Defendant is covered by insurance at trial. The laws are meant to protect the the insurance company from jurors who want to award large verdicts just to punish the insurance company or because it is easier to give money to the Plaintiff when it is from an insurance company. But, those laws also prejudice the Plaintiff where a jury thinks that the Defendant will lose his house or his family will not be able to eat if they award any money to the Plaintiff.

In a situation where the Defendant does not have insurance or has very low insurance limits, the Plaintiff will look to her own insurance company to cover her losses through underinsured or uninsured coverage. In most circumstances, the Plaintiff is not looking to take someone’s house or personal assets to pay for a personal injury jury verdict.