In many places throughout the country, courts use comparative negligence to allocate blame when there's more than one party involved in a car accident. Sometimes, this can create multiple sources of damages for a plaintiff. Other times, it can become quite the complicated situation.
Dividing Blame Between Multiple Parties
Many car accidents involve more than one party. It's not always just one driver and the other. Other parties can include the municipality, the manufacturer of the vehicle, or any of a number of entities that contributed to the accident directly or indirectly.
Comparative negligence is a means by which the proper parties can all accept their part of the blame for the accident. However, this allocation of fault isn't always in the plaintiff's favor. It depends on what percentage of the blame he or she receives.
How Much Did You Contribute to Your Accident?
With comparative negligence, if your percentage of liability is 50% or more, you may not have a case at all. Otherwise, the full amount of the damages owed to you will decrease in direct correlation to how much liability you hold for the accident.
How Much Did Others Contribute to the Accident?
After the court figures out the fault allocation, it then must figure out how those other parties must pay out damages. Typically, a combination of joint and several liability will determine those figures.
Joint liability means that everyone involved must contribute a percentage of the total amount of damages. Several liability means everybody must contribute a specific amount, based on their percentage of liability. In this case, it's a singular amount, not one that goes towards fulfilling an overall obligation like joint liability.
When both these concepts come into play, it's known as "all sums," and it can become complicated. For example, you can demand full compensation from one party who is found jointly liable. That party will have to pay damages, but then can pursue the other parties in the case for their share of that full amount. Either way, you will still receive the damages you deserve, as the burden of collecting it shifts from you to the other party.
Speak to an Auto Accident Lawyer
It helps to spread out the liability, which can give you more chances to receive full damages. But, it's important to seek legal counsel if you plan to prove multiply parties were at fault. Navigating the complexities of comparative negligence isn't something you should attempt to take on yourself. You can also click here for info about accident lawyers.