Court Addresses Whether a Lack of Insurance Is Relevant to Liability

The Court of Appeals in Maryland recently heard a case involving an injured plaintiff who was hit by a dump truck. The dump truck company was operated by an individual and owned by a trucking company. A third-party concrete company hired the trucking company to conduct some work on their behalf. Apparently, the plaintiff was crossing an intersection when he was hit by the dump truck. The injured plaintiff brought a claim of negligence against the driver, the trucking company, and the concrete company that contracted with the trucking company.

eighteen-wheeler-614201_960_720At trial, the plaintiff claimed that the companies engaged in negligent hiring and that the driver was negligent. The concrete company asked the court to exclude evidence that showed that the driver had a suspended license at the time of the accident. Additionally, the concrete company also wanted to exclude that the truck was not insured at the time of the accident. The lower court denied those requests and allowed a witness to testify regarding the driver’s insurance status.

Ultimately, the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff. The case was then brought to the Court of Special Appeals. At that point, neither party disputed the fact that the lack of insurance was not relevant to any claim of ordinary negligence. However, the plaintiff contended that the lack of insurance showed that the concrete company did not use reasonable care in hiring the truck driver. The intermediate court reversed the circuit court’s decision, and the high court affirmed. It found that the admission into evidence of the seemingly irrelevant evidence of the driver’s insurance status was an error.

New Mexico and Federal Laws Surrounding Whether Lack of Possession of Insurance is Relevant in Negligence Cases

The risk of a car or trucking accident is one of the most frightening types of risks that people face almost every day. These types of accidents can result in serious physical injuries and property damage. Although insurance companies may pay for some of the damage sustained in a serious accident, unfortunately, accident victims often need to bring civil negligence suits when the insurance company’s offer is insufficient.

In these cases, it is very important that people have knowledgeable attorneys to help them present the most pertinent and legally sound case. This includes knowing the relevant rules of evidence. For example, the above case went through a series of lengthy appeals because the plaintiff attempted to introduce evidence of insurance that was ultimately found to be irrelevant.

Generally, Federal Rule 411 applies when individuals try and present evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability. This type of evidence is not admissible if it is being introduced to prove that the other party was negligent or that they acted wrongfully. However, it is important to note that, as with almost any evidentiary rule, there are exceptions. This evidence may be introduced if it is admitted to try and prove that the witness was biased or prejudiced, or if it is being introduced to prove ownership or control.

Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in New Mexico, it is highly recommended that you contact a knowledgeable attorney at the Fine Law Firm to discuss your case. The attorneys at the Fine Law Firm are highly trained and have years of experience litigating all kinds of negligence cases. They will ensure that proper evidentiary rules are followed and will help you seek the compensation that you deserve. Contact an attorney at the Fine Law Firm today at 800-640-6590 to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Federal Appellate Court Affirms Judgment and Award of $3 Million to Family of Man Killed in Trucking Accident, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 17, 2016.

Minibus Accident in France Claims 12 Lives, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 7, 2016.