Is it possible to sue multiple people in the same lawsuit?
People are often confused if it is possible when multiple people they acted negligently. The answer is yes. Florida has operated since 2006 under a theory that is called Pure Several Liability. This law and legal theories allow a plaintiff to sue multiple people and recover damages against them.
Can I recover all my injuries against only one person?
Before April 26, 2006, it was possible to sue multiple people for negligence and recover all damages from one defendant. This was the case even if the defendant was only partially liable. However, the current law of Pure Several Liability has changed this. It is no longer possible to hold one person responsible for all damages.
Many questions why would there be such a law that allows a plaintiff to recover all damages against one defendant. This is because that the joint and several liability law permitted the person responsible to seek the other defendants to contribute to the payment.
Critics argued that this was not fair. The reason it essentially allows the plaintiff to seek damages from the defendant with the largest pocket. Proponents of this legal theory argue that the law deters professional misconduct from occurring. Additionally, it also provides the plaintiff with a very simple model of recovering damages.
What is the Florida Pure Several Liability Law?
The law now states that a plaintiff can still sue multiple people for negligence. However, the finder of fact, the jury, will then determine the amount that each defendant acted negligently. For example, if there are three defendants, the trier of fact may state that Defendant A is 30% liable for negligence, Defendant B is 40% liable for negligence, and Defendant C is 30% liable for negligence.
Based on this allocation of fault, the plaintiff can then recover the proportionate amount of damages from each defendant. So if the jury delivers a verdict of $100,000 in the above example, then the plaintiff can recover $30,000 from Defendant A, $40,000 from Defendant B, and $30,000 from Defendant C.
What happens if I am partly at fault for the injuries?
In the instance that you are recovering damages under Florida's Pure Several Liability Law, then a jury will also assess your fault. A better explanation of comparative negligence can be found here.
Assume that you somehow acted negligently, which resulted in your injuries. A jury will determine the extent that you were negligent. If the jury concludes that you were 20% at fault, then each recovery will be reduced by 20%.
Thus for the above example, the recovery from Defendant A, B, and C will be reduced by 20%. Thus, you will only be able to recover $24,000 from Defendant A, $32,000 from Defendant B, and $24,000 from Defendant C.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to educate you about the current laws or Pure Several Liability, Joint and Several Liability, and Comparative Negligence. These legal theories are difficult to understand and might be confusing.
We understand the complexity of the law and our goal is to make your life simpler and also to educate you in the process. For this reason, we offer Free Case Evaluations. You can call our Sebastian Office (772-589-5500) or our Vero Beach Office (772-774-7771) to schedule a Free Meeting today. Or you can start the process by filling out our Free Case Evaluation on our website by clicking here.