If you’ve ever heard the term ‘joint tortfeasor’ and wondered what it means, you’re not alone. It’s one of those legal phrases that can sound intimidating, but once broken down, it’s quite straightforward. In this blog post, we’ll demystify the concept of ‘contribution among joint tortfeasors’ within the context of Alabama law. We’ll explain relevant legal jargon and offer practical examples to bring the concept to life.
In simple terms, a tortfeasor is a person or entity who commits a tort — a civil wrong that causes harm to another and results in legal liability. When two or more parties jointly cause harm, they are referred to as ‘joint tortfeasors.’
‘Contribution’ refers to the right of one tortfeasor to recover from any other tortfeasor who is liable for the same damage, the portion of the total payment that the former has paid which exceeds his share of the obligation. Essentially, it’s about ensuring that each party pays their fair share.
Alabama stands unique in its approach to contribution among joint tortfeasors. According to Alabama law, there is generally no contribution allowed among joint tortfeasors. This rule implies that if multiple parties are found at fault for causing harm, each party is individually responsible for the full amount of damages awarded, regardless of their level of fault. This principle is known as ‘joint and several liability.’
Let’s illustrate this with an example. Suppose two drivers — Driver A and Driver B — are involved in a car accident with Driver C. If both A and B are found to be at fault, and C is awarded $100,000 in damages, both A and B could potentially be held liable for the entire $100,000, irrespective of whether one was more at fault than the other.
Given the strict nature of Alabama’s approach to joint and several liability, it’s crucial to protect yourself if you’re involved in a situation where others may also be held responsible. Here are a few strategies:
Maintain Adequate Insurance: Having sufficient insurance coverage can protect you financially if you’re held liable for damages.
Seek Legal Advice: If you’re involved in an incident where multiple parties may be at fault, consult with your local family law attorney in Alabaster, or wherever you live, as soon as possible. They can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and obligations.
In summary, ‘contribution among joint tortfeasors’ is a complex area of Alabama law. While the general rule is that no contribution is allowed among joint tortfeasors, exceptions do exist. Navigating these complexities often requires professional legal guidance. If you find yourself in such a situation, reaching out to an experienced attorney would be a wise move.