For many first-time plaintiffs, the prospect of car accident litigation may seem quite straightforward. In truth, however, it may the case that the defendant-driver is not the only one responsible for the injuries at issue. The dispute could grow in complexity due to the presence of multiple liable defendants.
In Alabama, this increased complexity is associated with a significant advantage: joint and several liability. Stated in simple terms, joint and several liability allows the plaintiff to sue and recover their damages (in full) from any of the defendants, regardless of their specific level of fault.
For example, suppose that you are injured in a car accident and the court finds that the defendant-driver is 50 percent at-fault, and that the city government is 50 percent at-fault (for failing to properly maintain the traffic lights). You would be entitled to recover all 100 percent of your damages from either party, which can be extremely beneficial in situations where one or more of the defendants lack adequate insurance coverage.
Plaintiffs often do not realize that there are a number of potential defendants they could hold responsible in a car accident lawsuit. Consider the following.
Drivers are the obvious defendants in a car accident lawsuit, and for good reason. It’s worth noting that multiple drivers could be responsible for your injuries, however. In multi-car pileup scenarios, there could be several negligent drivers whose actions contributed substantially to the suffered harm. Splitting liability among multiple drivers is useful given how common it is for individual drivers to lack adequate insurance coverage.
Passengers are not always innocent in the car accident context. Passengers who create a distraction for the driver, or who actively interfere with their ability to operate the vehicle safely (i.e., by attacking the driver, or by attempting to take control of the wheel) may be held responsible for the subsequent accident.
Auto manufacturers may be held liable for injuries caused by their defectively manufactured or defectively designed products. In Alabama, injured plaintiffs may utilize “strict liability” principles to sue and recover from an auto manufacturer defendant — simply put, there is no need to establish negligence. So long as the product was actually defective, and the plaintiff suffered harm as a result of said defect, then recovery is possible.
Property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonable safe condition. Failure to do so could lead to significant civil liability. This applies to both private and public landowners.
For example, suppose that a public road features a sharp turn where the view is obscured by a large tree. The city government (who owns and maintains the land) has not hired tree specialists to cut down the tree, despite the fact that it has created a serious hazard for drivers on the roadway. If a driver is injured as a result of the hazard, then the city government could ostensibly be sued for such negligence.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Alabama, then you may have a right of action against the defendant(s) for damages. Litigation can be complicated, however, particularly in cases where there are multiple defendants. Contact a Tuscaloosa accident attorney today for comprehensive guidance.
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