Thursday, October 4, 2007
A story from the Austin Personal Injury Lawyer references a post by an Alaska personal injury lawyer about how his client lost a personal injury case when he followed the bad advice of an insurance adjuster. In the post, the lawyer states that this client lost the case when the judge excluded the evidence of this bad advice because allowing it would violate [this particular judge's interpretation of] an evidence rule that keeps the jury from hearing about insurance.
That rule, ostensibly, is Alaska rule of evidence 411, which is identical to its federal counterpart. Rule 411, however, only excludes evidence of liability insurance to establish that the insured acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully (because he had insurance and wasn't worried about the consequences). While the facts in this Alaska case are not clear, it appears that an accident occurred, and then the injured individual contacted the insurance adjuster, who told him that he didn't need a lawyer. This being the case, it is difficult to see how evidence of what the adjuster told the injured individual would have been excludable under rule 411.