In a follow up to yesterday’s post, I want to discuss what rights a passenger in automobile driven negligently by John Doe would have. In my previous scenario, John Doe rear-ended an automobile doing 50mph. Lets make that automobile a tractor trailer which made an abrupt lane change in front of the speeding John Doe. Lets also assume, John Doe was 60% at fault and the trucking company was 40% at fault.
Under this scenario, each passenger is 100% innocent. Therefore, under Oklahoma law they would also be entitled to damages from any party that was at least 1% at fault in the accident. In this case, both parties bear responsibility. The injured passengers could sue both John Doe and the Trucking company under joint and several liability.
Joint and several liability and only comes into play when someone is 100% innocent such as the passengers. It essentially allows the passengers to recover from anyone who is more than 1% at fault. This is important in a death case or a serious back, neck or brain injury case. Tomorrow I will talk about why this is important in these serious accidents.