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What Is Joint and Several Liability?

 Posted on December 13, 2021 in Personal Injury

joliet injury attorneyWhen a victim of negligence first walks into a law office, their first questions are often who can I sue? And what is my case worth?

Of course, the answers hinge on a variety of factors. Simply attributing fault and assigning value to a specific claim can be complex undertakings. Furthermore, a variety of legal doctrines, often varying by state, influence how a case may proceed. In the State of Illinois, a good starting point for understanding liability in the personal injury context is the concept of joint and several liability.

What Is Joint Liability and Several Liability?

Joint and several liability may be pertinent when more than one party is at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries.

For example, in product liability claims, more than one party is often at fault. The producer may have negligent designed the product, a manufacturer may have negligently assembled the product, and a retailer may have negligently marketed the product.

Many plaintiffs assume a given defendant is required to pay damages only to the extent they are responsible for their injuries. However, because Illinois has adopted joint and several liability, the plaintiff can seek the full amount of the damages for medical bills and related losses from any of the at-fault parties individually. 

As far as non-medical damages are concerned, any defendant who has less than 25 percent of the total fault will be responsible for only their proportionate share of the non-medical damages. A defendant with more than 25 percent of the total fault could be responsible for paying the full amount of the non-medical damages under the doctrine of joint and several liability. The plaintiff is free to seek damages from one or all parties – it is up to them. The only requirement is the party was in some way liable.

For example, if the producer, manufacturer, and retailer of a defective product are all found to be equally liable for injuries valued at $100,000, the plaintiff can collect the full judgment entirely from the producer even if it only shares one third of the liability. Because each defendant was more than 25 percent responsible in this example, joint and several liability applies to both medical and non-medical damages. 

Contact a Will County Personal Injury Attorney

Overcoming a serious personal injury is incredibly challenging and may take years. The physical recovery is only one obstacle on the road back to normal. Victims may also face medical debt, job loss, and mental trauma.

Thankfully, victims have rights. If their injuries were the product of negligence, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against those responsible. A successful suit could bring the financial compensation victims and their families so desperately need. Michael J. Lichner - Will County Personal Injury Lawyer has been helping Illinois victims vindicate their rights through the legal system for decades. Our lawyers have practiced in courtrooms around the State, providing rigorous representation and advocacy.

If you need a Will County personal injury lawyer that puts client needs above the bottom line, contact Michael J. Lichner - Will County Personal Injury Lawyer today at 815-730-1977 for a free initial consultation.



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