Repealing Joint and Several Liability is Irresponsible

Repealing Joint and Several Liability is Irresponsible

State Senator Daylin Leach posted an op-ed piece on his site in regards to the repeal of a common law doctrine known as “Joint and Several Liability”.  “Under this doctrine, if a person is injured because of the negligence of 2 or more parties, an injured victim may recover the full amount of the award against any one of the wrong-doers. This is true even if another wrong-doer is not insured sufficiently to cover their share of the damages, or has no assets, or is otherwise unable to pay.”

An example of this policy is a woman who purchased a security system for her house.  One night a criminal entered the woman’s house with ease due to a defective alarm.  The woman was assaulted and obtained significant injuries.  If the jury found that the criminal was 60% at fault and the security company was 40% at fault then the doctrine would require the security company to pay 100% of the damages assuming the criminal had no assets whatsoever.  If the policy is repealed then the victim would only receive 40% from the security company and would be left to pay for the rest of her medical bills on her own.

Those attempting to repeal this doctrine believe that it is unfair for a defendant to pay 100% of the damages considering they were only 40% at fault.  While this does make sense, the victim in this case was not only injured, but also receives no justice.  She has to pay her own way.  Someone will have to bear the burden of this payment and it should not be the victim.  While the criminal had no money and was deemed to be the main cause of damage, the security company still holds some blame and should cover the damages if the other side cannot.  The security company would also be allowed to have assistance from their insurance company or other resources available to pay for the damages.  The insurance companies would probably receive the impact in these situations.

If this doctrine were to be repealed, then offenders would no longer be responsible for their actions.  Victims will suffer and no one will be able to help them besides themselves.

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