|State Name||Liability Sharing Grade|
When lawsuits are brought against a group of defendants, the liability must be split among them. Whether it is split fairly is immensely important in creating a just and economically sound state liability system. Businesses confident in their ability to get a fair shake in court feel more comfortable spending resources to expand and further employ.
How is liability shared between co-defendants?
Why does this matter?In litigation with multiple defendants, fault is divided among them. We recommend tying the amount of damages they pay to their percentage of fault, something called Several Liability. Many states hold defendants potentially responsible for the damages of other defendants in what is called Joint Liability or Modified Joint Liability. This is hugely costly and unfair to defendants.
Can a plaintiff who is more at fault than a defendant for his own injury recover damages?
Why does this matter?A few states don't allow those who contribute to their own injury to recover any damages. (Contributory Negligence) Most states have some sort of comparative fault standard meaning the plaintiff can be awarded some damages for the fault that is not their own. Many states have a threshold over which a responsible plaintiff can't bring litigation, often 50 percent. Where a plaintiff is 95% responsible for their own injury, allowing them to seek a 5% recovery threatens frivolous litigation. There is a balance to be found in allowing plaintiffs to recover damages when they were partly responsible. We recommend comparative fault with pure several liability so minimally responsible defendants don't get stuck paying the entire lawsuit award.
Can a jury consider the responsibility of all who may have contributed to a plaintiff’s injury in allocating fault?
Why does this matter?For fault to be allocated accurately, the jury must be presented with the complete facts. Some states do not allow the fault of additional defendants or third parties to be considered, thereby creating an imbalance in liability and punishing those present more severely than appropriate.