You have an accident injury claim against a trucking company and they are “stipulating to liability.” What does it mean?
Ready for “Personal Injury Law 101?”
If you hear the words “stipulating to liability,” loud, blaring bells and whistles should go off in your head. In fact, anytime you hear something you don’t understand in law, you should immediately be concerned and get answers from your Dallas personal injury attorney. With “stipulating to liability,” it means the defendant could be trying to hide some facts of the case that could improve your chances of winning, or reduce the damages you receive.
Take a Look At How This Plays Out in Reality…
For example, say a drunk semi-truck driver hits you, causing severe bodily injury, the complete totaling of your car, and you missing time from work. Now let’s say the company has a sloppy hiring and training process that allows practically any driver with a pulse behind the wheel.
Of course, the company doesn’t want the jury to know their bad actions prior to the actual incident. So, by “stipulating to liability,” they can attempt to conceal those facts from the commercial trucking accident case (and sometimes they succeed).
Defending lawyers can do this when talking to the judge prior to trial. They butter him up by admitting the truck driver did something bad, but that these other facts are “too prejudicial” for the jury to hear. So, in their view, that would unfairly influence each juror’s opinion, and likely the final outcome of the trial. Courts can exclude relevant evidence in this manner to keep the trial “fair and unbiased.”
What Do Smart Injury Lawyers Do to Overcome This?
The legal system’s not perfect – clearly. If companies of any kind can hide facts important to the case through valid legal processes, that’s not right. But how the Judge chooses to look at this is uncontrollable.
To combat this, skilled personal injury attorneys don’t frame trucking collisions as “accidents.” They show how they are conscious decisions on behalf of the actors.
For example, a drunk semi-truck driver didn’t “accidentally” hit you. He consciously chose to go to the bar or store, buy alcohol, drink it before or while driving his truck, and then he chose to drive intoxicated. And he knows that while he legally can have a .04% BAC, he’ll have a hard time getting another job ever again if he drives under the influence of any amount of alcohol.
He didn’t “accidentally get drunk” and wander into his vehicle. He’s not the victim of uncontrollable circumstances. He could have decided to wait to drink until the work day, or work week, was done.
If you show it’s a conscious choice, regardless of previous incidents or external factors, the jury isn’t going to be happy. And they’ll gladly reward you for your injuries.
Keep it real – the legal world is sometimes crazy out there!
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Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years. Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.