After a Maryland accident, there may be more than one party responsible for the victim’s damages. The idea of a “joint tortfeasor” stems from the theory that an event or injury may result from the separate yet joint actions of two or more parties. Under Maryland’s Joint Tortfeasor Act (MJTA), a party determined to be a joint tortfeasor is responsible for the entire amount of the victim’s damages. This applies regardless of whether one party is more responsible than the other.
These cases often occur in multi-vehicle car accidents, especially those involving truck drivers. While the law does not require a plaintiff to file a lawsuit against all of the culpable parties, they maintain the option of suing all joint tortfeasors in a single action. However, if a plaintiff files against one joint tortfeasor, that party has the option of bringing in all additional tortfeasors as third-party defendants.
For instance, another state supreme court recently issued an opinion in a lawsuit stemming from a multi-vehicle truck accident. In that case, the plaintiff was driving a truck through a construction area when a flagger held up a sign reading “SLOW.” When the driver slowed down, the flagger abruptly changed the sign to “STOP.” As the plaintiff slammed on his brakes, a driver operating a tractor-trailer behind him rear-ended him. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries and filed a lawsuit against the tractor-trailers employers. The employer sought contributions from several third parties, including the general contractor.
Under Maryland’s laws, the employer would be liable for the entire share of the accident, regardless of whether the contractor or subcontractor was more responsible for the incident. In these situations, the law allows defendants the right to contribution. This means that the defendants seek damages from the other responsible parties—however, the MJTA limits contribution in some instances. Under the Act, an injured person’s release of one joint tortfeasor will relieve that party from liability to another joint tortfeasor if the release is given before the other tortfeasor’s right to secure a money judgment has accrued and the release has a clause for a reduction.
These cases require a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of complex state and federal laws. As such, Maryland injury victims who have suffered damages because of more than one party’s negligence should consult with an attorney to determine their rights and remedies.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maryland Truck Accident?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or died in a Maryland truck accident, contact the injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. The experienced attorneys at our office have years of experience successfully handling complex personal injury claims on behalf of their clients. They maintain an active practice and utilize their knowledge, skills, and vast resources to ensure that their clients recover the damages they deserve. Damages in these cases may include compensation for medical expenses, ongoing treatment, lost wages and benefits, and pain and suffering. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.