A typical car accident case involves one plaintiff and one defendant. The injury victim seeks payment from the individual who was responsible for causing the crash and his or her insurance company. However, not every case is this simple. Multiple defendants may be involved in a Lafayette car accident, which can make pursuing fair compensation difficult for unrepresented plaintiffs. Identifying the responsible parties and analyzing multiple insurance policies can be a complex task, but an experienced attorney may be able to help.
First Steps in a Multi-Defendant Car Accident Case
The first step in a car accident case is always medical treatment. The victim needs to obtain all the care he or she needs until reaching maximum medical improvement, or MMI. MMI does not mean the victim has fully recovered from the injuries, but he or she must have regained as much functioning as can be reasonably expected. After reaching MMI, there may be lingering complications or even permanent impairment.
Next, a Lafayette attorney could begin presenting the case to multiple defendants before filing a lawsuit. There could be multiple insurance companies involved, and each could be represented by separate defense attorneys. The lawyer may then present the claim to the first defendant’s liability insurance carrier and try to exhaust the policy limits. If these limits are unsufficient to cover the victim’s damages, an attorney could pursue an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.
For a free legal consultation with a multiple defendants lawyer serving Lafayette, call (337) 777-7777
The Litigation Process with Multiple Defendants
If there are multiple defendants, the litigation process proceeds normally but with an added level of complexity. There may be multiple lawyers involved who represent individual parties, and they gather information and decide who is at fault. The attorneys may also make a determination about what portion of fault each defendant might have.
If the case goes to court, there is no set order in which multiple defendants present their sides of the case. The goal is to present information to the judge or jury in a way that flows well and is easy to follow. A good way to do this is to break down the elements that have to be proven in each case, and to present each portion to the jury. The attorney could call a number of witnesses, including medical or other experts, as well as fact witnesses with knowledge of the accident and/or injury. The plaintiff is also a very important witness if the car accident proceeds to trial.
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Apportioning Fault in a Case with Multiple Defendants
When there are multiple defendants who may be at fault for an auto crash, an attorney would make their case to the jury accordingly. If the lawyer believes each of two defendants is equally at fault, he or she may argue for a 50/50 split. Ultimately, the decision of how much fault each party bears is up to the jury. The jury has to decide how much fault is apportioned to each party, which affects the portion of the total compensation each defendant must pay.
Notably, an injury victim could be somewhat responsible for causing his or her own crash. Louisiana personal injury cases operate under a pure comparative fault standard, meaning juries must consider the plaintiff’s own liability. If the victim shares some blame for the collision, his or her total damages award may be reduced.
Contact a Lafayette Car Accident Attorney
If you were hurt in a crash, you should not have to concern yourself with the complexities of insurance policies and litigation. Instead of trying to handle the case yourself, consider contacting an experienced attorney. A Lafayette lawyer could handle all the details of your car accident case, even if it involves multiple defendants. Call today to set up a case review.