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No Evidence of Insurance Allowed in Missouri Courts

Pursuant to the Missouri Rules of Evidence, a Plaintiff at trial cannot produce any evidence or even so much as a suggestion that the Defendant is insured by an insurance company. Thus, although there may be hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars available in insurance coverage, the jury may not hear any evidence of that sort – – if the Plaintiff does produce or even utters the word “insurance” during the trial, (or if his counsel does so) it is highly likely that a trial judge will declare a mistrial and discharge the jury. It has been held by the Missouri Court of Appeals that it is reversible error for the trial court to fail to declare a mistrial in the face of such evidence being put before a jury. The result: Plaintiffs must not only prove their case, but they must overcome the sympathies that a jury may have to a Defendant who it assumes because there hasn’t been any evidence of insurance presented to the jury, is uninsured against the claim. Thus, the jury is misled by this process to believe that the Defendant will have to come up with the money to pay the judgment out of his own pocket when that is clearly not the case in the vast majority of cases, i.e., where insurance coverage insures the Defendant against the potential loss of a personal injury case.

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