Understanding Joint and Several Liability in Nevada Car Accidents

Anyone can suddenly find him or herself a faultless victim in a car accident in Nevada and in need of a Las Vegas injury attorney. A driver might not be paying attention, or may be negligent or reckless behind the wheel, and a victim may simply be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There are countless plaintiffs in Nevada each and every year who are involved in automobile accidents that are not their fault. If you have been a victim in a car accident, you can file a personal injury case against the other driver and any other party who might be liable to you, in order to recover damages for any property damage or injuries that you may have suffered.

image courtesy of Jannik Selz

image courtesy of Jannik Selz

Joint and Several Liability

If two or more defendants are accountable to you after a car accident, and you are not even partially at fault for causing the accident, the defendants will be held jointly and severally liable to you for your damages. What this means is that a victim who is not at all at fault for causing the accident can recover from multiple defendants who are responsible for causing the accident, and if one of them is unable to pay, then the other one must make up the difference. To say this another way, each defendant is held 100% liable for the judgement regardless of his or her contributing share to the accident.

Joint and several liability often becomes important in car accident cases involving commercial vehicles. Victims who are struck by negligent delivery drivers or commercial tractor trailer haulers are often able to sue both the driver of the vehicle that hit them and the driver’s employer if the accident happened while the negligent driver was on the clock. Under joint and several liability, even if the negligent driver is unable to afford the damages suffered by the victim, the negligent driver’s employer can be held responsible for the victim’s losses.

The purpose behind joint and several liability is to provide faultless injured victims with compensation from those who are responsible for causing their injuries, and even if one defendant has no means to pay damages, the victim can still recover their full judgement amount from the other defendant.

Joint and Several Liability Does Not Apply if the Victim is Partially Responsible

If you are even partially responsible for causing the car accident, then any defendants can raise a comparative fault defense against you. If you are found to be even partly responsible for contributing to the accident, then the liability for the accident will be apportioned to everyone involved in the accident according to their contributing share, i.e., defendants are only liable for the percentage of the harm that they caused. This is only true if you are found to have contributed to the accident 50% or less. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault for causing the accident, then you will be barred from recovering from the others who were involved in the accident.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident in Nevada, you need to contact an experienced plaintiff’s attorney as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to give our office a call. The Parry & Pfau team can schedule a free consultation with you.