What is Joint and Several Liability?

Doctors with stethoscopesIn our last blog, we detailed information regarding how to determine if the doctor or hospital is liable for a surgical error. While there are many situations in which a doctor is solely responsible for the harm he or she causes you, some legal matters involve multiple parties.

In a medical malpractice case, you should know about joint and several liability. During these situations, there may be more than one party liable for the injuries you sustain. Joint and several liability may allow you to pursue compensation for more than one medical professional.

Understanding Joint and Several Liability

Joint and several liability is typically the situation in which more than one party is involved in the same instance of causing you harm. For example, you may suffer an injury in a surgical error. Two surgeons may operate together. If they both make mistakes to cause harm, they hold joint and several liability.

Joint and several liability most often involves the same situation causing harm, but more than one person responsible for it. This type of liability impacts how you may be able to pursue compensation after the negligence. Here’s how it works:

  • More than one party is liable for the injuries you sustain
  • The jury assigns each party a percentage of fault
  • You pursue compensation from the defendants

Your case may become challenging if the jury assigns each party with a percentage that doesn’t add up to 100%. For instance, if there are two surgeons with 25% of fault each, you must recognize how to collect the full compensation that may be available.

If the jury awards you $200,000 for your losses, you may be able to pursue compensation from either one of the defendants. If one doctor is fully insured, you may go after his insurance company for compensation. If one party pays out more than the other, that defendant may seek legal action against all other defendants for contribution.

Our Cleveland medical malpractice lawyers at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber are here to help you. We’ll explain your rights and options so you know what to expect. Let us be your guide to hold negligent medical professionals accountable for their actions.

Schedule a free consultation with our firm. Call us today: (216) 600-0114.


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