Joint and Several Liability
When multiple parties are defendants in a personal injury case, defendants are held liable based on North Carolina joint and several liability law.
North Carolina General Statutes § 25-3-116 Joint and several liability holds all parties liable when more than one party is liable for causing an accident.
For example, two drivers cause an accident — one, who was drunk and driving, and the other driver, who was texting and not paying attention. They crash into a third car which was stopped at an intersection. The first two drivers are liable for damages caused to the third driver.
Suppose damages are $100,000. Both parties are liable for the $100,000. The drunk driver’s insurance policy limits are $30,000 and the texting driver’s policy limits are $100,000. Each at-fault driver’s insurance company pays the full limit, $30,000 and $70,000 respectively. If the drunk driver was uninsured, then the texting driver’s insurance company would be obligated to pay all the damages, up to the limit of $100,000. The fact that the drunk driver jointly caused the accident becomes irrelevant to the texting driver’s being responsible for all the damages.
When multiple parties are involved in car accidents, the case is often complicated.
Please note: These numbers are merely examples and vary between cases.