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Frequently Asked Questions

How does joint and several liability affect the amount of damages a defendant has to pay in a negligence case?

Joint and several liability can significantly impact the amount of damages a defendant has to pay in a negligence case. This is largely determined by the specific rules of each state regarding joint and several liability, and whether they follow the principles of contributory negligence or some form of comparative negligence. In the case of contributory negligence, if a plaintiff is found to have contributed in any way to the accident, they may not be able to collect damages from the defendant, regardless of the extent of their injuries or the recklessness of the defendant. This can be problematic for plaintiffs, as even slight negligence on their part could result in the court not ruling in their favor. Comparative negligence, on the other hand, allows courts to determine the degree of negligence of each party and adjust the amount of damages accordingly. There are two types of comparative negligence: pure and modified. Pure comparative negligence subtracts a certain amount from the plaintiff's damages based on their percentage of responsibility for the accident. Modified comparative negligence generally does not award damages to a plaintiff if they are more at fault than the defendant.
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