What if Several Parties May be Liable for Your Injury?
One of the most important questions for insurance companies and attorneys after an accident is: who is at fault?
Often, there is one person or entity that bears 100 percent of the fault for what happened. However, sometimes there is more than one party to blame.
In these situations, Arizona applies the legal principle of joint and several liability. Below, our Phoenix-based personal injury attorneys discuss this concept, along with what you need to know if you have recently been in an accident or if you ever get injured in an accident.
The legal process can be complicated even if there is just one party at fault. However, it can be even more so if multiple parties are involved. That is why you should strongly consider seeking legal representation.
Several Liability in Arizona
When someone causes an accident that results in damages, he or she is responsible for those damages. If multiple people are responsible for an accident, they are responsible for the percentage of damages they caused. This is called several liability.
For example, if one driver is 65 percent at fault and another is 35 percent at fault, one driver must pay 65 percent of the damages while the other must pay 35 percent.
This is a change from how things used to work in Arizona. Our state used to apply joint and several liability when multiple parties were at fault. Under this system, the injured victim could decide to go after only one party for compensation, and that one party would be responsible for the full value of the claim. This was true even if the at-fault party being pursued was responsible for a small percentage of damages.
Victims could potentially abuse this system and at-fault parties could be taken advantage of. The change to pure several liability is a fairer system, both for victims and at-fault parties.
When Joint Liability May Still Apply
There are three exceptions when joint liability may still be applied after an accident and one party could be responsible for the fault of another:
- Both parties acted together
- One party acted as an agent or servant of the other
- One party’s liability for the fault of another arises from a duty that was created by the federal employers’ liability act, 45 United States Code section 51
Situations When Several Liability May Come Up
There are any number of situations where multiple parties, not just one, may be liable for an accident that resulted in damages. Here are just a few examples:
- Car crashes involving more than two vehicles
- Truck crashes, as the driver and other entities may hold liability
- Premises liability accidents, as multiple parties may have been responsible for safety
- Defective product injuries, as manufacturers and others in the supply chain might be at fault
- Medical malpractice injuries, as many people are often involved in caring for a patient
- Train crashes, as conductors and those involved in maintaining the train or railway could be liable
- Bus crashes, as drivers and others may share fault
- Nursing home abuse cases
Whenever possible, accident victims should try to obtain names and contact information for everyone involved. This may help your attorney to determine who all is to blame and how much fault each party may bear for your damages.
Contacting a lawyer right away is also important, as these cases take time to investigate. If you wait to contact an attorney, evidence may be lost or destroyed, and it may be harder to track down all the potentially liable parties.
Have Questions About the Legal Process? Call Phillips Law Group
For nearly 30 years, our firm has been fighting for injury victims in Arizona. We have secured numerous verdicts and settlements for our clients, recovering millions in compensation to help them move forward after an accident.
If you have questions about your injury claim, we offer a free legal consultation with no obligation to retain our services. Our attorneys are not paid unless you get paid.
If multiple parties may be at fault, you need experienced legal help to pursue full compensation for your injuries, and to attempt to hold all at-fault parties accountable.
Give us a call today. Phone: 1-800-706-3000 .
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