Filing Claims Against Multiple Defendants
While some accidents involve only two parties, one of whom was at fault for causing injuries to the other party, it is also not uncommon for an accident to involve multiple defendants. Florida adheres to the legal theory of pure comparative fault, under which all parties to a suit have their fault assessed and then assigned to them as a percentage of the total. Afterwards, each defendant is held liable for their own contribution to the accident. Although this seems like a relatively straightforward process, it can be deceptively difficult to determine how much of an accident each party was responsible for, so if you were injured in an accident, in which a number of parties were involved, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you seek the correct amount of damages from those who caused your accident.
What is Pure Comparative Fault?
Pure comparative fault is a legal theory, under which multiple parties can be held accountable for their individual contributions to an accident. If, for example, a person was injured in a multi-car pile-up that involved three other cars, he or she would need to determine each party’s percentage of fault. If the first defendant caused the initial collision, he or she could be deemed at fault for 60 percent of the accident, while the remaining two defendants may be found to have only contributed 20 percent each. If the injured party suffered $100,000 in damages, then that amount would need to be divided up between the defendants according to their individual contributions, so the first defendant would be liable for $60,000, while the remaining two would each be required to pay $20,000 in damages to the victim. This theory also comes into play when plaintiffs contribute to an accident, as their total amount of damages will be reduced by their own percentage of fault.
Problems with Multiple Defendants
In 2006, Florida abolished the practice of joint and several liability, replacing it with several liability, which means that plaintiffs must separately recover damages from each defendant in an amount equal to their own percentage of fault and cannot attempt to collect the total from any single defendant. Unfortunately, this can lead to conflict amongst defendants who are unlikely to agree to their own degree of fault, unless faced with clear and definitive evidence. Defendants may also attempt to bring other defendants into the mix by claiming that other third parties share responsibility for the accident, thus potentially lowering their own portion of the damages. To ensure that your own case is not delayed as a result of the other parties’ stalling tactics, you should retain an attorney who will aggressively represent your interests.
Get the Legal Representation You Deserve
If you were injured in an accident, in which multiple parties were involved, you need the advice of an experienced and compassionate attorney. Please call 954-566-9919 to speak with one of the dedicated Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at Boone & Davis today. Initial consultations are conducted free of charge.