How Damages Are Paid In Personal Injury Cases With Multiple Defendants.

May 22, 2013

Not every Buffalo personal injury case involves injuries caused by only one person.  Sometimes more than one party may have caused an accident, and the personal injury lawyers involved will seek compensation from everyone who is responsible.  This can happen, for example, where a landowner and the company he hired to maintain his property are both negligent in keeping it safe.

When more than one defendant is responsible for damages, there is often a question of who pays what amount of damages.  How damages are divided up is determined under New York State’s “joint and several liability” laws.

In New York State personal injury cases involving joint and several liability, an injured person may collect the full amount of any economic damages (which are actual expenses such as medical bills and lost income) from anyone found responsible for the injury until the entire judgment is paid in full.  There is no requirement that the responsible parties pay an equal – or even a fair – share.  As a result, if one of the responsible parties does not have enough insurance coverage or other assets to pay its full share, the other defendants must make up the difference.

The rules are different for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.  For non-economic damages, a defendant found less than 50% liable for causing an injury is only required to pay a percentage of the non-economic damages equal to his or her percentage of liability.

There are several exceptions when joint and several liability does not apply. As a result, if you have any further questions regarding this subject, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney.  We can be reached at 716-400-0000 if you have any questions regarding personal injury law.