When multiple defendants in Charleston car accident cases are responsible for the injuries victims sustain, recovery is only made more challenging for those victims. Litigation becomes more complex, recovery is delayed, and medical bills continue to gather. However, all is not lost. With the help of an experienced car wreck attorney, you could rest assured that someone on your side could hold these negligent parties accountable while working to recover the compensation you need.
How Multiple Defendants Affects Litigation
If there are multiple defendants, the litigation proceeds by either agreement or by order of the court. The judge would tell the parties in which order they are going to go. For example, there could be an instance where a plaintiff and defendant join together and ascribe blame to a third party. While initially, a case may have involved only two people, there could be moments where the further investigation reveals that neither initial parties were to blame and in fact a third party was at fault.
In these cases, the original plaintiff would still be the one to have the lawsuit filed. Moving forward from that moment, a trial would follow all the standard procedures of civil court. Each party would have their chance to present their case, each lawyer would have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses or present witnesses, and each party would have their opening and closing arguments.
Case Outcomes With Many Defendants
Have multiple defendants could certainly influence the outcome of a case. Multiple defendants sometimes adds to the confusion that a jury could experience, though these cases should be fact-based and driven. Many times, the defendant in the case points to the empty chair, an unknown third party who should be present and held accountable.
For the plaintiff, there is no way to collect against that empty chair if they are not a party to the case. If a jury were to decide 70 percent of the fault to that unknown third party, the plaintiff is going to be out of luck for 70 percent of their case. These instances affect cases greatly. However, many times, it could also be positive. There could be a confluence of multiple bad acts by multiple parties, and some of those actions could add up in the plaintiff’s favor. Ultimately, these hypothetical situations involving multiple defendants for a Charleston car accident case are just that, and victims should keep in mind that each case is unique and needs to be treated as such.
Do Health Privacy Laws Affect Cases?
At the end of the day, the plaintiff has certain state and federal protections about the privacy about their health, but many of those protections are diminished or do not exist once they bring a lawsuit against the defendant and make their medical condition one of the issues in the case.
For example, somebody’s prior psychiatric care and treatment may not be something that another party would be entitled to under normal circumstances, whether it is under HIPAA law or some other state or federal law, but when the plaintiff claims mental injury due to the accident, it becomes relevant. At that point, the defendants have the right, and most judges agree with this right, to get those records and explore that prior condition to understand what, if anything, changed or got worse from this accident and what, if anything, is their responsibility to pay for versus what preexisted for the plaintiff.
When someone, as a plaintiff, puts a case into suit, a lot of those protections are diminished or outright overcome by the defendant’s need to investigate the case and determine what, if anything, they are going to have to pay.
How Car Accident Lawyers Fight These Challenges
A car accident lawyer navigates these difficulties during trial with their experience. If the plaintiff is arguing mental and physical injuries, and the other side is looking for medical records from their past, the lawyer never fights that issue. Most often, they do not fight the issue, because, in fairness, the defense has the right to access that information. Sometimes it could be abused. There are cases where defendants abuse their rights or their privilege in this area.
For the most part, if someone is going to claim that they have a physical injury to a body part, perhaps their back, it is fair game for the defense to determine what, if any, problems they have had with their back in their past medical history. Likewise, if they are claiming some type of psychological injury, it is fair game for the defense in most instances to look at their prior psychiatric history to see what, if anything, predated what they are claiming happened in the accident.
Just because someone may have a prior history, in a new accident, if they aggravated that preexisting condition or if they had a new injury that aggravated a preexisting condition, the law covers those events. Whatever has been caused by the defendant’s negligence, wrongdoing, or bad conduct, they should be responsible to pay for whatever damages occurred to the plaintiff as a result of that wrongdoing or negligence.
Presenting Arguments to Multiple Defendants
A Charleston car accident lawyer would present their argument to multiple defendants in a few ways. For example, if part of the problem in a case is somebody runs a stop sign, is driving their truck, and fails to adequately maintain the brakes, victims’ attorneys are bringing a case against the truck driving company. They are also bringing the case directly against the driver of the truck because perhaps they were on the cell phone at the time of the accident.
If the intersection had a problem like it was not up to code and that had something to do with making the accident worse than it would have been otherwise, attorneys for the victim have the defendant truck driver, the defendant truck driver’s company, and the city or state involved as a defendant.
The challenges are the more information they have to gather, the more information they have to present to the jury and the more information that they have to take that is complex in nature and make as simple as they could to explain to the jury what the problems are, who bears the responsibility for the accident, and what percentages they bear.
To do that with one defendant is challenging enough. To do that with multiple defendants increases the amount of work and the amount of effort that is going to be needed to clearly and concisely present the plaintiff’s case in a way that the jury could understand and award appropriate damages accordingly.
Let an Attorney Handle a Case with Multiple Defendants After a Charleston Car Wreck
If you were harmed in a car wreck, finding out who was responsible for you injuries and subsequent recovery could be challenging. Worse yet, multiple defendants in Charleston car accident cases could only further complicate the recovery process. Instead of doing nothing, choose to work with an attorney who could help. Speak with an experienced attorney today.