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Discovering Fault When Multiple Parties Are to Blame for a Car Accident

Written by Ankin Law Office

For car accidents involving multiple parties, the court must use the legal concept of “joint and several liability,” also called “all sums,” to figure out fault allocation. For a lawyer car accident injury cases of this type require an anticipation of that calculation of liability. For the injured plaintiff, the process can become quite complicated.

Divvying Up the Blame

Illinois uses comparative negligence to figure out the allocation of fault. In cases where the plaintiff is partially at fault, it’s possible to lose out on damages altogether. For example, consider if there’s an accident involving

  • the city’s negligence,
  • another driver’s negligence,
  • and the plaintiff’s own negligence.

If the plaintiff holds 50% of the liability in that accident, then it doesn’t matter how much or how little the others contributed. Since he or she is fully half at fault, he or she cannot collect damages. The amount of liability decreases the total amount of damages the plaintiff is eligible for up to that 50% mark.

A lawyer may want to bring everybody possible in as a defendant. This helps to spread that fault allocation around, leaving the plaintiff with far less liability. It has the added benefit of making sure that compensation can come from several different parties, rather than just one or two who may not have the means to settle.

Joint and Several Liability

Once the court tallies the fault percentages, it becomes a case of joint and several liability.

Joint liability – When multiple parties jointly have liability. In this case, everybody involved will owe something that jointly constitutes the full obligation.

Several liability – Sometimes called proportionate liability. Severally liable parties are only liable for their allocated amount of fault.

After setting the allocation percentage, it’s split between how much is joint, and how much constitutes several liability. In Chicago, these statutes have undergone a few reforms. So it’s good to understand how they currently work, rather than making an assumption.

Why It’s Important to Seek Help

Accidents happen all the time, and they’re not always between just two people. Negligence can spread out in numerous ways, which is helpful for those who need help with injuries resulting from that negligence.

For a lawyer car accident injury cases of this type offer various avenues to pursue. It’s important that the injured party seeks help in figuring out which paths are the most worthwhile.

Categories: Auto Accidents