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Can multiple defendants be held liable for the same crash?

When tragedy strikes Pottsville residents, it is important to hold those who caused the incident accountable for their actions. This is true not only when a single person was behind the incident, but when multiple individuals were responsible as well.

For instance, it is not uncommon for a car accident to be caused by more than one negligent driver. In these cases, the injured parties can hold those drivers responsible for their negligence.

This is similar to the concept of comparative negligence that was discussed recently in this blog, as Pennsylvania law allows negligence to be attributed to multiple individuals. However, instead of the plaintiff's damages being reduced for his or her percentage of fault in the crash, the apportionment of fault among multiple defendants means the plaintiff will have the ability to recover damages against multiple defendants.

Typically, each defendant held responsible in a personal injury case will be liable for the proportion of the total dollar amount awarded as damages according to the ration of that person's liability. There are cases in which joint liability is imposed, which means that each defendant can be held responsible for the amount of liability imposed against all defendants.

For example, if there has been intentional misrepresentation or an intentional tort, joint liability may be imposed. Joint liability may also apply if the defendant is held liable for 60 percent or more of the total liability apportioned to all parties. Accordingly, individuals should understand the rules of joint and several liability in order to know their options for collecting damages against multiple defendants.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "7102. Comparative negligence," accessed on Feb. 6, 2016

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