Conroe Criminal Defense Lawyer - Texas Rules of Evidence Series RULE 411
Updated: Sep 1
Conroe Criminal Defense Lawyer - Texas Rule of Evidence Rule 411. Much to the chagrin of personal injury lawyers evidence that the defendant has insurance is not allowed. This is because lawyers trust the general public so little that they assume if a jury knows that someone is covered by insurance they will award the other party money regardless of the law. The assumed thought process is "Oh its the insurance company paying it? Screw it give him all the money." The opposite is also true though, "Oh he doesn't have insurance? Well then we aren't going to break this guy over this we'll give him something the can afford."
So here are the exceptions.
proving a witnesses bias or prejudice;
insurance coverage is actually disputed or part of the suit;
proving that the insurance acted as an agent of the defendant;
proving that the defendant owned the property in question; or
proving that the defendant controlled the property in question
In Ex parte Wheeler, a prosecutor asked a defense expert about the results of an insurance investigation involving a crash and criminally negligent homicide. The prosecutor asked, "“Are you aware that her insurance carrier found her at fault?” Ex Parte Wheeler, 203 S.W.3d 317, 321 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006). The court ruled that this question was proper and did not violate rule 411 because it did not go show that the defendant was insured but rather that the results of a secondary investigation revealed that she may be at fault for the crime and that her expert witness may be biased. The judge in that case did however grant a mistrial but the court found that the actions of the prosecutor were not intentional for the purpose of causing a mistrial and the case was not dismissed with prejudice.
Rule 411 - Liability Insurance, Tex. R. Evid. 411
Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible to prove whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. But the court may admit this evidence for another purpose, such as proving a witness's bias or prejudice or, if disputed, proving agency, ownership, or control.