Conn. R. Evid. 4-10

As amended through July 31, 2019
Section 4-10 - Liability Insurance
(a)General rule. Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is inadmissible upon the issue of whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully.
(b) Exception. This section does not require the exclusion of evidence of insurance against liability when offered for another purpose, such as proof of agency, ownership, or control, or bias or prejudice of a witness.

Conn. Code. Evid. 4-10

Amended Dec. 14, 2017, to take effect Feb. 1, 2018.

COMMENTARY

(a) General rule.

Section 4-10 is consistent with Connecticut law. See, e.g., Magnon v. Glickman, 185 Conn. 234, 242, 440 A.2d 909 (1981); Walker v. New Haven Hotel Co., 95 Conn. 231, 235, 111 A. 59 (1920); Nesbitt v. Mulligan, 11 Conn. App. 348, 358-59, 527 A.2d 1195 (1987).

The exclusion of such evidence is premised on two grounds. First, the evidence is of slight probative value on the issue of fault because the fact that a person does or does not carry liability insurance does not imply that that person is more or less likely to act negligently. Walker v. New Haven Hotel Co., supra, 95 Conn. 235-36. Second, Section 4-10, by excluding evidence of a person's liability coverage or lack thereof, prevents the jury from improperly rendering a decision or award based upon the existence or nonexistence of liability coverage rather than upon the merits of the case. See id., 235.

(b) Exception.

In accordance with common law, Section 4-10 permits evidence of liability coverage or the lack thereof to be admitted if offered for a purpose other than to prove negligent or wrongful conduct. Muraszki v. William L. Clifford, Inc., 129 Conn. 123, 128, 26 A.2d 578 (1942) (to show agency or employment relationship); Nesbitt v. Mulligan, supra, 11 Conn. App. 358-60 (to show motive or bias of witness); see Holbrook v. Casazza, 204 Conn. 336, 355-56, 528 A.2d 774 (1987) (same), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1006, 108 S. Ct. 699, 98 L. Ed. 2d 651 (1988); see also Vasquez v. Rocco, 267 Conn. 59, 68, 836 A.2d 1158 (2003) (evidence of insurance admissible to prove "substantial connection'' between insurer and witness). The list of purposes for which evidence of insurance coverage may be offered is meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive.