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WHAT IF MULTIPLE DRIVERS ARE AT FAULT IN AN ACCIDENT?

Courts deal with these situations all the time and it’s no problem.

The jury will be asked, via its written instructions, to consider the evidence presented and to find the percentage fault of all various parties to the lawsuit. Sometimes former parties who settled before trial will also be listed.

Kentucky is a pure comparative-fault jurisdiction, so each party is liable only for their share of the total liability. For instance, if two drivers collide and both were acting negligently, they are each liable for their own percentage of fault as determined by the jury.

So, in a lawsuit against a partially-at-fault plaintiff against a partially-at-fault defendant, jury’s total award to the plaintiff will be reduced by percentage of the plaintiff’s own fault.

Suppose there’s a three-car accident. Plaintiff A drove one of the cars and is injured. She sues the other drivers, Defendants B and C.

At trial, the jury determines her damages are $100,000, and allocates fault as follows:

Plaintiff A — 20% at fault
Defendant B — 20% at fault
Defendant C — 60% at fault

In the court’s final judgment, Plaintiff A is awarded $20,000 from Defendant B and $60,000 from Defendant C, which will in the normal course of events be paid by the Defendants’ insurers.

Note that in some states other than Kentucky, a plaintiff can’t be at fault at all (pure contributory) or more than a certain threshold such as 50% (modified comparative) or she can’t recover anything at trial.

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This is a blog post, not specific legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created.