A bill allowing judges to inform juries about whether or not a victim in a car crash was wearing a seat belt died in a Senate Committee. The bill was promoted as potentially leading to smaller settlements in some cases, which would drive insurance rates down. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt, the bill’s sponsor, says we should trust judges to make the right call.
“The judge should have the ability to use his judgement as to when that information would relevant to a jury.”
But the bill received opposition from Bossier City Senator Ryan Gatti, who says the bill punishes victims with lower settlements in crashes that weren’t their fault.
“I don’t see any situation where the victim deserves to be punished for doing an everyday thing.”
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon could not guarantee that insurance rates would go down as a result of the bill, and Gatti says it’s emblematic of problems with the bill as a whole.
“There’s really no guarantee that I can take back to district 36 to my trucking companies and tell everyone else that look, your rates are going to be reduced.”