The insurance defense lawyers, and the insurance companies behind them, deploy this defense tactic on a given California personal injury case whenever possible. "Stipulating to Liability" means they are offering to admit fault on your injury case. This could be due to the fact that the facts clearly support that their insured did something wrong that caused you harm. A good example of this is a rear-end car crash. It is very hard to defend fault on a rear-end car crash because 99% of the time, the person who did the rear-ending, caused the harm. So, in a rear-end car crash, the defense will offer to "stipulate to liability," usually, just before trial.
Why the Defense Offers to Stipulate to Liability Just Before Trial
They do this a defense tactic so that in case the entire case does go before the jury, they want to be able to say that both sides have a agreed to fault. They do this to "look repentant" (remorseful) for their insured's conduct, but they also do it because they want to keep out the facts of the harm or wrong doing. Think about it this way, if they tell the judge that they have reached a stipulation (agreement) with the other side that they are at fault, then they will try to convince the judge that we do not need to offer testimony about the wrong doing. You see? The defense is really trying to exclude testimonial evidence of the wrong doing so the jury does not get to hear about it.
However, that is not what the law says in California. California courts are clear that a jury gets to hear about the harm because it goes to "proximate cause" or foreseeability of the harm, and the past court decisions support that part of bring an injury case is to make sure the same harm does not happen again.
My Response to this Deceptive Defense Tactic
I tell the judge that the defense can admit to fault as much as they want to, but I am not going to "stipulate" or agree to fault so they can make an argument later that facts of the safety rule breaking that led to my client's injury don't come into evidence. I safeguard that, and never "stipulate with the defense on fault." Most injury lawyers do not do this, because they do not understand California law to the degree that I have studied it. This is why it is important that you have a skilled an experienced trial lawyer representing you on your California personal injury case.
In the video above, I go into more detail about the why and what I do to respond to this "stipulation" offer by the defense. You will definitely get more insight into this widely used defense tactic.
If you have questions, or need help on your injury case, please feel free to fill out my convenient online request form, or you can always just call me directly at 619.813.7955, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.