A: Joint and Several Liability in Pennsylvania is a centuries old legal doctrine that encourages safety and responsibility.  Here is how it works.  When two or more people injure someone through negligence, each of them is responsible to pay for his share of the harm caused.  However, if one the wrongdoers can't pay then the other must pay the full amount.

Consider this real life scenario.  Two drivers approach an intersection.  One of them goes through the red light.  The other is drunk and speeding and, if he'd been sober and going the speed limit, could have avoided the collision.  Because the drunk is speeding (and drunk) and because the other driver went through the red light, a collision occurs in the intersection.  A jury determines that each driver is 50% negligent (50% at fault).

An innocent passenger in the car that went through the red light is injured.  The innocent passenger has medical bills that total $100,000.  The driver who went through the red light only has $15,000 in coverage and that's all he can pay.  The drunk driver has $100,000 in insurance coverage.  Even though the drunk driver was only 50% at fault in the accident, the law requires him to make sure the innocent injured patient is made whole so he has to make up the difference and his insurance company will pay $85,000.

Because of joint and several liability, innocent injured people are more likely to recover compensation from people who are responsible for having caused the harm.  Without joint and several liability, innocent injured people are more likely to recover less than full compensation and they (or their families or taxpayers or the health care system) are more likely to have to bear the burden of the harm caused by a wrongdoer. 

Contact an Experienced Erie Injury Lawyer

If you've been injured as a result of the negligence of more than one person and you want to know whether joint and several liability applies to your case, call today for a free consultation with an experienced Pennsylvania injury attorney.  Call today and we'll schedule you for a convenient, no-obligation consult.  Call 814-580-5017 or toll free 877-505-9548.