What Happens When the Negligence of Two or More Parties Causes Injuries or Harm?

August 14, 2012

Misc. Topics, Wrongful Death

Personal Injury Lawsuit in OhioLegal matters can become confusing when only two parties are involved in a lawsuit, but when two or more parties cause injury to an individual, there are often additional problems to resolve.

The responsible parties are considered “joint tortfeasors.” The injured person may bring action against any or all of them, but the parties must have acted together to bring about an injury in a single accident or event.

Sometimes it is difficult to determine who should share in what is termed “joint and several liability.”  One who is experienced in this area can investigate how the injury happened and help you decide what parties are responsible, or if a single party is actually guilty of the tortuous conduct.  In some cases, the parties do not knowingly act together to commit the tortuous conduct, and in rare cases the defendant may not know he or she caused injury.

Usually, the defendant will not be required to bear the entire liability unless he or she is responsible for the majority of the economic loss.  In Ohio, non-economic losses are still assigned proportionately—for example, if the jury finds that someone is 10% responsible for non economic injury, he or she is obligated to pay 10% of the jury award to the plaintiff.

If a defendant pays more than his or her share of the damages for which he is at fault, he may bring an action to recover from the other defendants.  This is known as the right of contribution and is available even if one of the other defendants settled with the plaintiff before judgment.

In Ohio, if a tort is not proven to be intentional, the share each tortfeasor pays is based upon degrees of legal responsibility.  Intentional means the defendant intentionally caused or intentionally contributed to the injury or loss to person or property or caused a wrongful death.  In other words, that loss was “substantially certain to result from the tortfeasor’s conduct.”

Changes in tort law in 2003, resulted in no joint and several liability where a defendant’s negligence is 50% or less.  The latter person would be liable only for his proportionate share of the tortuous conduct for economic and noneconomic losses.

Sorting out these issues, particularly if you are seriously injured, can be overwhelming.  At Slater & Zurz LLC, our Ohio personal injury lawyers have extensive experience investigating joint and severability liability cases and the resources to hire experts, if necessary, to ensure that your claim is proven against all of the tortfeasors involved.  Our attorneys will identify all the parties responsible for your injuries and all the contributing factors.

You should be aware that there is a two-year statute of limitations in Ohio for filing a personal injury lawsuit concerning an auto accident.  No one should rush into a lawsuit, but remember that evidence can fade and witnesses can become difficult to locate.

Please contact our Ohio law firm for a free consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or by going to www.slaterzurz.com and sending us a Message telling us about your case.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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