If there is more than one party responsible for your car crash, you may be able to name more than one defendant in your auto wreck case. However, it is important to note that the number of negligent parties in an auto accident could affect the length of the trial but it may potentially increase the amount of recovery. A lawyer at The Warren Firm could help you address multiple defendants in a Charlottesville car accident trial and get the compensation you need.
In situations where there are multiple defendants in a case, the court may require that only one opening statement be given for all of them if their interests align. For example, if an injured party is hurt by a driver who is working for a corporation, both the motorist and the corporation could be liable. In a case like this, the court will typically only allow one opening statement from the defendants.
There are certain instances in which that would not be appropriate. If an injured party was rear-ended by a car, knocked into an intersection, and hit again by another driver who ran a red light, these defendants could be allowed to make separate statements. Though having multiple defendants may affect the structure of the trial, a skilled car accident attorney could present an adequate argument against both parties.
Lawyers have the option to present their case against the defendants at the same time. In a case against a driver and his or her employer, an attorney might choose to proceed as if there were only one defendant. However, a lawyer could present one argument against multiple defendants even if the two parties do not have a connection.
If an injured party was a passenger and the driver got in a crash with another motorist who was also at fault, an attorney could present the evidence against both drivers at the same time. It may be beneficial to have a discussion with a local car accident lawyer about your plan for presenting an argument against multiple defendants.
Having multiple defendants in an auto accident trial can affect the amount of monetary damages an injured party may receive. In Virginia, if two separate parties caused a crash, both defendants are responsible for paying the full amount of damages to the injured party. This is called joint and several liability.
If two drivers cause a car crash—one with little insurance and another with a lot of coverage—the injured party may have a better chance of recovering monetary damages from the second defendant, which could change how a lawyer presents their case. Additionally, if a driver and a large company are both liable for an accident, the injured party is typically eligible for more insurance coverage and awarded damages. An attorney in the area could help you recover the maximum amount of damages available to you.
Car wreck trials can be complicated and dealing with multiple liable parties can be especially difficult if you attempt to represent yourself in court. If you believe there may be more than one responsible party in your case, it is best to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Call our office today to speak with an attorney who could prepare you for having multiple defendants in a Charlottesville car accident trial.