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Florida Personal Injury Law: Joint and Several Liability

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on April 7, 2010

Joint and several liability describes a situation where two or more parties are responsible for causing an injury to another party whether they were working together in concert or not. An easy example of joint and several liability that everyone can relate to would be a multiple car accident where one driver collides with another which, in turn, causes another collision between drivers attempting to avoid the first collision. Like most other legal terms, there are many factors that come into play when determining joint and several liability. If you have been injured in an auto accident or other type of accident caused by more than one party, an experienced Orlando personal injury attorney such as James O. Cunningham can explain if and how joint and several liability pertains to your case.

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Under joint and several liability laws, when two or more parties are responsible for causing injury to another and it is difficult to determine which defendant is responsible for causing which part or parts of the injury, the defendants can be found liable for damages jointly or severally. The injured party is within his or her rights to collect damages from the defendants together or separately. It depends on the plaintiff’s preferences and any extenuating circumstances that may apply. To further illustrate joint and several liability, consider the following examples:

•    Joint liability
Bank loans usually hold borrowers jointly liable when a married couple signs a mortgage, home improvement loan or any other type of loan where two people sign a promissory note to repay the loan. In cosigning this note, they are jointly liable for repaying the loan according to the terms.

•   Several liability
Several liability differs from joint liability in that it governs situations where several parties are only held responsible or liable for their respective obligations. Like the multiple car accident example used earlier, several different people are involved, but each party is responsible for a different percentage of the damages.

Like other aspects of liability law, whether a party is jointly or severally liable depends a great deal on the specific circumstances of the case.

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If you or someone you care for has been injured by another person’s negligence, you’re probably not concerned with who may be jointly or severally liable for those damages. You are most likely interested in recovering appropriate damages from the negligent parties for the injuries they caused. This recovery helps to offset hospital bills, lost time at work and other damages. An experienced Orlando personal injury attorney like James O. Cunningham explains the laws and legal terms that apply to your situation so that you can make educated and informed decisions about your case. If you have questions, contact Central Florida personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham today to schedule a consultation.

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James O. Cunningham

James O. CunninghamSince 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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