In Virginia, as in most states, evidence about whether or not a plaintiff’s medical bills have been paid by insurance is kept from a jury during a trial.  There are many reasons for this law.  Sometimes, however, juries attempt to account for the fact that insurance has paid the medical bills and adjust their award accordingly.  If you are on a jury in a personal injury case, you should not do this.  The reason is that insurance is not simple and different insurance "rules" may apply to the claims at hand.

For example, in a recent case in Fairfax County, the jury disobeyed the court’s instruction to not consider insurance.  They compensated the plaintiff for 20% of her medical bills because they assumed that she had insurance (as many of us do) that covered 80% of the bills.  What they failed to be aware of, however, was that in this case the plaintiff had to pay back her insurance company out of any award, so she really was not insured at all!  Almost all insurance policies these days require the injured person to pay back any amounts the company paid for the medical bills if the plaintiff wins his lawsuit.  This jury's award for her medical expenses did not even cover what she had to repay to the insurance company! Insurance policies differ and not every insurance policy requires this type of reimbursement. What the courts have done, however, to make the issue fair for everyone, is to simply take insurance out of the consideration of the jury.

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