Can There Be Multiple Lawsuits Out of the Same Accident?
- Dan T. Matrafajlo
- Tue Feb 2017
- Car Accidents,
You were in the middle of a multi-vehicle pileup. The accident was so horrific that you feel lucky to be alive. Months go by, and you get a huge shock. The doorbell rings and a process server asks for your name and hands you papers. You can’t believe it! Why are you getting sued for the car accident?
Chain reaction motor vehicle crashes often represent confusion concerning liability. If you were severely injured, there’s a good chance that others were also hurt. But, who’s responsible? It’s not always so evident. The reason you were served with the lawsuit is to make sure all prospective defendants have been named.
Your Case as the Plaintiff
In the first place, there’s your negligence claim. If you were hurt in the accident, you’ll want to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. You’ll provide your version of the crash. The lawyer will conduct an investigation. It will include securing the police report, eyewitness statements and anything else that can help your case.
The person who brings a lawsuit is known as the plaintiff. Prior to suit, you will be referred to as the claimant. After a review of the relevant information, you will be provided information concerning the merits of your case. Your attorney may also tell you that liability is unclear and that all drivers need to be named to protect your interests.
Just because you are in the middle of the pileup doesn’t mean you aren’t at all negligent. You could be accused of texting and driving. As a result, you could be found partially to blame for your own injuries. You could still recover monetary damages provided your liability was less than 51%. Your award would be apportioned according to the legal concept of comparative negligence.
Not sure what this means? Remember when Tracy Morgan was seriously hurt when his limo was in an accident with a Walmart truck? Take a look at the article we had written before the case was settled. Walmart claimed that Morgan’s failure to wear his seatbelt was a factor in his injuries.
Let’s get back to your accident. If there were others hurt in the same crash, they might have also consulted an attorney. Their lawyer is most assuredly passing on the same information that was presented to you. During litigation, the claim will be sorted out to determine who is at fault and to what degree.
Your Case as the Defendant
Yes, it is possible. You can be both a plaintiff and a defendant as a result of the same automobile accident. The two cases may be initially filed as separate lawsuits. However, the court may decide to consolidate the actions upon application of one of the parties.
Here’s what you need to know. The attorney who represents you as a plaintiff is not the same one who will protect your interests as a defendant. You should let your private counsel know you are being sued. You also need to provide your lawyer with a copy of the papers.
You should not delay in acting on the summons and complaint naming you as a defendant. If you have already retained a personal injury law firm, they may agree to pass on the documents to your automobile insurance company. Otherwise, you need to speak with a representative of the insurance carrier and forward the papers served on you.
This is one of the reasons you pay for liability insurance. The paperwork will be submitted to an attorney chosen by the insurance company. The assigned law firm’s duty is to represent you as a defendant. There is no cost for this referral. Notwithstanding, you should cooperate fully with defense counsel.