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Joint And Several Liability

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Under joint and several liability a plaintiff may recover full damages from any defendant in a case, regardless of what percentage of liability a defendant may owe. If a defendant is found to be even 1% responsible under joint and several liability that defendant can be required to pay 100% of any damages. Supporters of joint and several liability contend that the laws protect a victim from being under compensated if one defendant cannot pay his or her share of a settlement. Opponents of joint and several liability point to the unfairness of a defendant being found 1% responsible yet being forced to pay 100% of an award. Joint and several liability encourages plaintiffs to look for defendants with "deep pockets." Joint and several liability primarily applies in tort cases and joint and several liability is valid in 46 states.

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