Yesterday we ended with a brief discussion on joint and several liability for injured automobile passengers. Today I want to talk about why this is important. Lets say Susie Q suffered a back injury that left her a quadriplegic. Her medical bills will be more than $2,000,000.00 not counting the millions she will need over the course of her lifetime. John Doe only has the state minimum of $25,000.00 in insurance coverage. This essentially meets her bills for a medi-flight. Further, lets value her case for hypothetical purposes at $5,000,000.00 (I know that’s a huge number). If joint and several liability were not present, the trucking company’s insurance would only be liability for $2,000,000.00. This obviously would leave Susie Q a ward of the state and taxpayers for her future medical needs which are tremendous.
However, under Oklahoma law, the Trucking Company’s insurance would be responsible for the whole verdict. One may wonder if this is fair, I just direct you to Susie Q who was a nice girl who wanted to be a missionary and loved life. Now she can’t move anything and requires 24/7 care. Should we deny her the care when there is insurance available? I would hope not.