What Happens in Car Accident Cases with Multiple Defendants?
Aug. 18, 2017
Car accident cases are almost always complicated in some way, but when there are multiple cars involved — or multiple parties involved in the claims process — it gets even more convoluted.
This is especially true in North Carolina, which is one of only four states and the District of Columbia that follows the pure contributory negligence rule. Alabama, Maryland and Virginia are the other three.
What Is the Contributory Negligence Rule?
In North Carolina, if a judge determines that you are at fault in any manner — even if you are just 1 percent at fault for the car accident — you cannot recover a penny in damages from the other party, even if the other party is 99 percent at fault.
In most states, the comparative negligence rule is followed, which allots percentages of fault to each party and determines the amount of the damages based on the percentage of fault.
If there are multiple cars or multiple defendants involved in the case, the chance that there are multiple people at fault increases. If you are determined to have no fault, then you will be able to seek damages from all the parties that were determined to be at fault.
What Is Vicarious Liability?
One thing you might encounter if you’re involved in a car accident case with multiple defendants is vicarious liability. What’s that?
Vicarious liability is when one person, business or entity assumes liability for the actions of someone else. For example, in a car accident involving a company vehicle, if the person driving the company vehicle is at fault, the company would assume liability for the crash. Often, though, an experienced personal injury attorney will go after both the driver and the company.
What Happens when Multiple People Are at Fault?
When multiple people caused the accident, then if you are 0 percent at fault, your personal injury attorney can go after all of the other people who caused the accident.
But there are also downsides to having multiple defendants:
Multiple defendants often means multiple defense lawyers, which always makes things more complicated.
If there are multiple defense lawyers, there are multiple angles by which they will try to discredit you and give you less than you deserve — or nothing at all.
If you have been involved in an accident and there are multiple defendants involved, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced personal injury law firm like Robert Armstrong’s office, immediately.
Cases involving multiple defendants take a lot more time, preparation and expertise, and without that expertise, you could be missing out on the money you are owed.
Contact Robert Armstrong’s office today for help.