A Practical Application of the Joint and Several Rule

by Faye Counts
(Maryland)

Another potential example of joint and several liability would be an accident where two drivers were engaged in a drag-racing situation on a public roadway and one struck an innocent third party, either a pedestrian or another vehicle. Even though only one of the racing drivers struck the innocent third party, the actions of both racing drivers created the situation which caused the innocent third party to be struck. If the racing driver not involved in the collision can be identified and insurance information on his vehicle is discovered, the innocent third party can make a damage or personal injury claim against his insurance company as well as the insurance company of the one that struck her.


However, it is likely that the identity and insurance information on the non-striking racer cannot be found out if they continued on, fleeing the scene either intentionally or not. In that case, the striking "racer" will be held responsible for all of the innocent third partys damages under the joint and several rule because he has become the only one the innocent third party has to seek compensation from. Even if the unknown racer who fled the scene is assumed to be uninsured, the innocent third party does not need to make a claim against their own policy's uninsured motorist coverage as the striking racer will pay all of the innocent's damages.

This article is approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel.

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