In a recent case a jury sent this note to the judge:

Dear Judge: can you tell us if the plaintiff's medical bills were paid by his insurance company?

The Judge talked to the lawyers and then wrote back:

You may only consider the evidence you have heard in court. You may not consider whether insurance plays any role in this case.

The judge was following the law, not being mean. Here's the truth.

It's complictated. In most cases today, if the injured person has health insurance of some type, most of the bills will be covered. However, once the case is over

The plaintiff will generally have to repay the insurance company what it paid on his behalf. So really, the bills are NOT covered by insurance.

This is why the judge said that the jury could not consider the issue of insurance - because it is complicated. Sometimes the insurance policy does not call for reimbursement. Sometimes there is no insurance at all. Rather than tell the jury the truth, Virginia law calls for judges to tell the jury nothing.

Does that make any sense? We don't think so.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized Virginia injury, medical malpractice, and long-term disability attorney
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