CACI 5001 Insurance

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

5001 Insurance

You must not consider whether any of the parties in this case has insurance. The presence or absence of insurance is totally irrelevant. You must decide this case based only on the law and the evidence.

Directions for Use

If this instruction is used, the advisory committee recommends that it be read to the jury before reading instructions on the substantive law.

By statute, evidence of a defendant’s insurance coverage is inadmissible to prove liability. (Evid. Code, § 1155.) If evidence of insurance has been admitted for some other reason, (1) this instruction may need to be modified to clarify that insurance may not be considered for purposes of determining liability; and (2) a limiting instruction should be given advising the jury to consider the evidence only for the purpose for which it was admitted.

Sources and Authority

Evidence of Insurance Inadmissible to Prove Liability. Evidence Code section 1155.

“ ‘The evidence [of liability insurance] is regarded as both irrelevant and prejudicial to the defendant. Hence, not only is it subject to objection and exclusion, but any attempt to inject it by question, suggestion or argument is considered misconduct of counsel, and is often held reversible error. [Citations.]’ ” (Neumann v. Bishop (1976) 59 Cal.App.3d 451, 469 [130 Cal.Rptr. 786].)

“Evidence of a defendant’s insurance coverage ordinarily is not admissible to prove the defendant’s negligence or other wrongdoing.” (Blake v. E. Thompson Petroleum Repair Co. (1985) 170 Cal.App.3d 823, 830 [216 Cal.Rptr. 568], original italics.)

“[E]vidence of a plaintiff’s insurance coverage is not admissible for the purpose of mitigating the damages the plaintiff would otherwise recover from the tortfeasor. This is the ‘collateral source rule.’ ” (Blake, supra, 170 Cal.App.3d at p. 830; see Helfend v. Southern California Rapid Transit Dist. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 1, 16–18 [84 Cal.Rptr. 173, 465 P.2d 61].)

“Both of the foregoing principles are subject to the qualification that where the topic of insurance coverage is coupled with other relevant evidence, that topic may be admitted along with such other evidence. ‘[para. ] It has always been the rule that the existence of insurance may properly be referred to in a case if the evidence is otherwise admissible.’ The trial court must then determine, pursuant to Evidence Code section 352, whether the probative value of the other evidence outweighs the prejudicial effect of the mention of insurance.” (Blake, supra, 170 Cal.App.3d at p. 831, internal citation omitted.)

“[T]he trial court did not abuse its discretion by excluding evidence of [plaintiff]’s insured [health care coverage] under Evidence Code section 352. [Plaintiff] had the right to treat outside his plan. Evidence of his insurance would have confused the issues or misled and prejudiced the jury.” (Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, LLC (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 1266, 1278 [232 Cal.Rptr.3d 404].)

“[M]ost of these references to Kaiser and Medicare, as well as the single reference to Social Security, merely provided context and background information on [plaintiff]’s past treatment at Kaiser and on some aspects of [defendant]’s experts’ calculation of past and future reasonable medical expenses. They were helpful and even necessary to the jury’s understanding of the issues. [Plaintiff] has not shown the court abused its discretion in admitting these references to assist the jurys understanding of the facts.” (Stokes v. Muschinske (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 45, 58 [245 Cal.Rptr.3d 764].)

Secondary Sources

7 Witkin, California Procedure (5th ed. 2008) Trial, § 217 et seq.
Jefferson, California Evidence Benchbook (3d ed. 1997) §§ 34.32–34.36
California Practice Guide: Civil Trials and Evidence § 5:371
3 California Trial Guide, Unit 50, Extrinsic Policies Affecting or Excluding Evidence, §§ 50.20, 50.32 (Matthew Bender)
48 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 551, Trial, § 551.68 (Matthew Bender)
1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 16, Jury Instructions, 16.06
1 Matthew Bender Practice Guide: California Trial and Post-Trial Civil Procedure, Ch. 17, Dealing With the Jury, 17.26