Suing More than One Defendant
Many car accidents involve only two vehicles, but others can involve several. In this situation, it might be hard to identify who is to blame, or it might be the fact that several drivers are to blame. As a result, you might need to sue more than one person. But is this difficult?
At our law firm, we have brought all kinds of lawsuits, including multi-defendant suits. By working with us, you will be in good hands.
Florida’s Law: Pure Comparative Fault
Florida law recognizes that many people—even the victim—can contribute to an accident. For that reason, a court will need to apportion responsibility for the crash, called “fault.”
For example, Car B might be tailgating Car A. But Car C is also tailgating Car B. If C slams into B, it can set off a chain reaction, forcing B to crash into A. In this situation, a jury might find that C is 50% responsible for the injuries to A, but that B is also 50% responsible because he was driving too close to A. This is called comparative fault. Each defendant bears partial responsibility for the crash.
Florida is also a “pure several liability” state, meaning that each defendant is only responsible for the damage they cause. In other states that recognized joint and several liability, any defendant is responsible for the entire damage. But in Florida, defendants only pay compensation for the damage they cause.
Problems that Arise in Florida
Defendants have an incentive to reduce their percentage of fault, since this will reduce the amount they have to pay in damages to our clients. For example, if you suffered $50,000 in damages, a defendant would be better off convincing a jury that they are only 30% responsible for the injuries instead of 50%. Defendants often point the finger at each other, trying to amplify how at fault other defendants are.
However, defendants also have an incentive to claim that some unknown defendant is really to blame for the accident. They might claim that a car got away without being caught and that this car contributed to the crash. By pushing responsibility onto a third party, defendants can further reduce their own liability.
It is very difficult to disprove whether an unknown person contributed to the crash. For this reason, you and your lawyer must thoroughly investigate the surrounding circumstances to determine that you have identified all possible defendants. An investigation can include visiting the scene of the accident, speaking to all witnesses, and looking for any video that might have captured the collision. We might also need to carefully study the damage to your vehicle to determine if it was struck by an unidentified vehicle.
You Can Count on Us
If you have been involved in a multi-car pile up or other accident, contact the Delray Beach car accident lawyer at Earnhart Law today. We have built our reputation on careful advocacy that helps our clients maximize the amount of compensation they receive from all defendants involved in an accident.
Contact us in Delray Beach today at 561-265-2220. We offer a free, confidential initial consultation, so you have nothing to lose.