When someone suffers injuries from a motor vehicle crash and wishes to recover damages, they can file a lawsuit against the liable party. However, one entity may be solely responsible, or there could be multiple entities or defendants bearing some level of responsibility. This could range from the employer of a negligent truck driver to the manufacturer of a defective car part. Having multiple defendants in an Atlanta car accident trial does not necessarily make the case more complicated but it requires skill to properly litigate. One of our seasoned attorneys could help you determine whom to name on a lawsuit.
How Does Litigation Proceed if There Are Multiple Defendants?
If there are multiple defendants in a case, litigation will proceed similar to how it would with one defendant, although each defendant has the right to serve their own discovery. In a multi-defendant case, the plaintiff will typically receive written discovery requests from each defendant, and at their deposition each defendant’s lawyer has the right to question the plaintiff.
Otherwise, the case will progress in much the same fashion, but with multiple defense lawyers at each deposition who are authorized to question the plaintiff or witness. However, if one lawyer represents multiple defendants in an Atlanta auto collision trial, that lawyer will have many opportunities to question the plaintiff.
Influence on the Case
Multiple defendants could influence the outcome of a trial depending on the nature of the case, and the relationships and roles of the different defendants. When juries decide cases in Atlanta, they can apportion fault between various parties. The jury is entitled to apportion between defendants or between defendants and non-parties, which often means people in companies that have not been sued.
Multiple defendants with different roles and different theories of liability could impact the apportionment and recovery of damages from the defendants. However, if multiple defendants are simply responsible for one act, such as an at-fault driver, their employer, and their insurance company, all of them could be responsible for the acts of the defendant. Having several defendants should not impact the apportionment of damages, and it is likely beneficial since a jury might be more apt to issue a significant monetary award against a company as opposed to an individual.
How Does Having Multiple Defendants Complicate a Case?
Having multiple defendants can be a challenge for a plaintiff’s lawyer during a local car accident trial. It may be unclear exactly what role each defendant played, and it may complicate the case being presented to the jury. However, multiple defendants can also be an asset if they start blaming each other. This only helps us present our case and encourages juries to find against one or both defendants.
Our argument to multiple defendants should correlate to the defendants’ roles and responsibilities. The argument to an entity responsible for the acts of another should emphasize their responsibility for the actions of that individual. Alternatively, the focus of an argument may be how a company was independently responsible for failing to train or retain workers. Lawyers must fully understand and carefully consider the roles and relationships of the different defendants when crafting their arguments.
Having multiple defendants should not interfere with a plaintiff’s HIPAA rights. Health privacy laws are often dealt with either through medical authorizations that allow the discovery of that information, or from proper discovery procedures that allow the collection of records from non-parties, absent an objection.
The Effect on the Length of a Trial
The complexity of a case and the number of parties can impact the length or brevity of a case. Requiring more discovery, more record selection, and more depositions often leads to scheduling difficulties that can extend the case. If there are more parties and lawyers involved, it can be more difficult to find dates that work for everyone and schedule the necessary discovery.
Discuss Multiple Defendants in an Atlanta Car Accident Trial with the Aid of an Attorney
It is not inherently more difficult to litigate a case with more than one defendant. In some instances, it could be beneficial to your cause. If you are unsure of whom to hold liable for your accident, place a call to one of our dedicated lawyers for help. We could help create a plan for dealing with multiple defendants in an Atlanta car accident trial.