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What is the New York “joint and several liability” law?

If you've been injured in an accident or on the job, the attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP have the knowledge, skills, and experience required to hold the party responsible for your injury accountable.

Last Updated: 07-24-2023
Written by: Michael A. Rose and Gregory Hach

New York has a special “joint and several liability” law that drivers should be aware of, especially if they were involved in an accident. This rule concerns how personal liability plays out in a car accident. Factors involved in determining joint and several liability include: how many people were involved. How much auto insurance each party possesses. What percentage of fault can be assigned to each defendant.

Determining Joint and Several Liability

In some cases, multiple defendants may be in an auto accident lawsuit. If it can be determined that someone was at least partially responsible for the accident, they may be tried as a defendant. That person may be subject to paying damages after the return of the verdict.

Additionally, the amount of coverage each defendant has in their car insurance is a major component of joint and several liability. According to Hach & Rose, LLP attorney Michael Rose, many car owners only have $25,000 in car insurance. This may sound like a lot. But in the event of an accident, the damages owed to the plaintiff may far exceed that number. This is where the question of fault comes into play. If there are two defendants and one of them is 95% responsible while the other is only 5% responsible, but the latter is financially capable of paying the damages in full, then they are obligated by law to do so, and the defendant who is 95% responsible but not able to pay would not need to pay anything.

Despite some controversy surrounding this law, New York is not the only state with one. Twenty-eight other states, including New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, also recognize it.

Contact a New York car accident lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident, regardless of whether you had any fault in it, the personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to help you. We understand the complexities of the joint and several liability rules and will work with you to win the compensation you deserve. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to discuss your legal options today.

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