Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

In the realm of legal proceedings, understanding the nuances of evidence rules is crucial. One such rule that often garners attention is Evidence Rule 411 (ER 411) regarding liability insurance. This rule has significant implications for how evidence related to liability insurance is used in court, particularly in negligence and wrongful act cases.

What is ER 411?

Evidence Rule 411: Liability Insurance stipulates that evidence showing whether a person was or was not insured against liability cannot be used to infer that the person acted negligently or committed a wrongful act. This rule is pivotal in ensuring that judgments in such cases are based on relevant facts and not on the presence or absence of insurance coverage.

The Rationale Behind ER 411

The primary reason for ER 411 is to avoid prejudice. The presence of liability insurance should not imply that a person is more likely to be negligent or engage in wrongful acts. Similarly, the lack of insurance should not suggest a lower likelihood of such behavior. This rule helps ensure that verdicts are not influenced by factors irrelevant to the actual conduct in question.

Exceptions to the Rule

While ER 411 generally prohibits the use of liability insurance evidence to prove negligence or wrongful behavior, there are exceptions. This evidence can be admissible for other purposes, such as:

  1. Proving Agency, Ownership, or Control: If the evidence is relevant to establishing who controlled or owned the entity or object involved in the case.
  2. Determining Bias or Prejudice of a Witness: If the evidence helps to reveal any potential bias or prejudice a witness may have.

ER 411 plays a crucial role in legal cases involving negligence or wrongful acts. It ensures that decisions are made based on concrete evidence directly related to the case, not on the financial ability to carry insurance. Understanding this rule is essential for legal professionals and anyone involved in such legal proceedings.


In summary, ER 411 on liability insurance is a cornerstone of fair legal practice. It reflects a commitment to unbiased legal proceedings, ensuring that decisions are based on relevant facts and not prejudiced by the presence or absence of liability insurance. For more insights into legal rules and their applications, stay tuned to our blog. Understanding these rules is key to navigating the complexities of legal processes and ensuring justice and fairness.

You can read the text of ER 411 here:

Review our client resources here

Contact us anytime for your urgent legal needs.

About Blanford Law:

We are no-nonsense, relentless, fair, and honest. We are great listeners instead of fast talkers, that is just who we are. More than 20 years ago, Ken began practicing law with a deeply-seeded belief that every person has the right to the best legal representation available. He built his law firm on that belief. Another belief that he strongly adheres to is his fundamental belief that clients deserve respect, with no assumptions or preconceived notions.  If you or someone you know is accused of a crime or injured as a result of the negligence of another, please have them call us at 253-720-9304 or email us