Suing Everyone May Not Be A Bad Idea
Who should you sue? Sue everybody! That sounds like a joke. But in the world of personal injury law, there is some truth to it-you could end up with real problems in your case, if you fail to sue everybody who may be responsible for your accident and your injuries.
When More Than One Defendant May be Responsible
It is not uncommon for more than one person or company to be liable to you for your injuries. Often, Defendants like to point the finger at someone else. For example:
-The driver of a truck in an accident may try to blame the trucking company
-The driver of a car may blame another vehicle, for causing an accident
-A store may to blame an outside cleaning company for failing to keep the premises safe
-A store may blame an outside security company for not keeping the premises safe from criminal activity
Where there is more than one person or company that may have contributed to your injuries do you have to sue everyone? Not legally, you don’t have to, but because of what is known as a Fabre Defendant (*named after a case with that name), you could have problems if you don’t sue everyone.
In trial, a jury can apportion liability to anybody who is responsible for your accident-even people who you didn’t sue. What’s worse is that because you didn’t sue everyone, if the jury says that the person or company that you didn’t sue is responsible for your accident, you won’t ever be able to get paid whatever amount that non-party is responsible for your injury.
A Practical Example
Let’s illustrate this with an example. Let’s say you are the victim of a criminal attack in someone’s parking lot. The business says that their security company is to blame for the poor security measures that allowed the attack to happen. But you only sue the business where you were attacked—not the security company.
At your trial, the jury says that your injuries are worth $100,000. They find that the security company totally failed, and they are responsible for 80% of your injuries. Except you didn’t sue the security company. That means that you would only be paid $20,000—the 20% of liability that the business, the only Defendant that you did sue, is liable.
Defendants Love Fabre Defendants
Defendants love this, because they want you to sue as many people as possible. This allows Defendants to point the finger at each other. They also feel it makes your case harder, because there are more parties, more lawyers, and more people fighting.
Sometimes, sloppy lawyering also leads to problems, if an attorney doesn’t sue everybody that is responsible for your injuries.
The temptation can be to leave people out of your lawsuit, to make the case easier. But that can be a very costly and expensive mistake.
Contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today to make sure that your personal injury case is handled correctly.