What Does It Mean When a Jury is Advised that a Defendant Accepts Liability?

Despite the frequency with which jury trials are portrayed on television and in movies, when a person ends up called to serve on a jury, that individual is likely to encounter a number of seemingly foreign concepts. For example, in some situations a judge may advise a jury at the start of a personal injury trial that the defendant in the case “has accepted liability.”

When a jury is told that a defendant in a personal injury case accepts liability, which means that the jurors no longer need to determine whether or not the defendant in the case is at fault for causing the accident. Rather, the jury is left with the task of determining the extent of damages or injuries the plaintiff sustained as the result of that defendant’s admitted negligence.

A juror may ponder why a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit is willing to concede that he or she was at fault in a particular situation. In most cases, it is because the defendant’s attorney does not want the jury to hear about the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. When a defendant accepts fault in a personal injury case, the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident in question generally are no longer relevant. A judge will not permit the presentation to the jury of evidence relating to the circumstances of the accident itself.

Examples of cases in which a defendant takes this position include situations in which the defendant was intoxicated at the time that he or she caused a car accident, which resulted in another person sustaining injuries. A defendant may use this tactic if he or she was involved in the commission of a crime at the time of the accident (for example, eluding police in an automobile).

If you have suffered injuries as the result of an accident, through no fault of your own, please call Harding & Associates to get a better picture of your rights. We can be reached at 800-878-7888 or 303-762-9500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation with a skilled, experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and assist in developing a strategy to fight to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.