Trials are supposed to be on the issues of the case without distraction or prejudice from unrelated matters. This principle has given rise in Florida courts to longstanding jurisprudence that the mention of liability insurance in liability cases is strictly prohibited — exception: when the insured party opens the door. The principle, founded on the idea that knowing of insurance will lead jurors to be more liberal — “The long-standing purpose of excluding improper references [to] a defendant’s insurance coverage in civil proceedings is to preclude jurors from affixing liability where none otherwise exists or to arrive at excessive amounts [of damages] through sympathy for the injured party with the thought that the burden would not have to be borne by the defendant.” Melara v. Cicione, 712 So. 2d 429, 431 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998) (citing Carls Mkts., Inc. v. Meyer, 69 So. 2d 789, 793 (Fla. 1953)). — is all well and good except when it bumps against the practical realities of actual trials.
In personal injury cases, the defendant usually has liability insurance. The defense lawyers are paid by the insurance companies as are the experts testifying for the defense side.