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What is joint and several liability?

Posted by Ashleigh Beer-Vineyard | Aug 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

Joint and several liability is a legal concept that determines how responsibility and the payment of damages are shared among multiple people or parties when they are involved in a situation where harm or wrongdoing has occurred.

Imagine you and your friend are playing catch with a ball near a neighbor's window. Accidentally, you throw the ball too hard, and it breaks the window. In this case, both you and your friend may be held responsible for the damage caused. 

Joint liability means that you and your friend are both considered equally responsible for the damage. So, if the cost to repair the window is $100, both of you might be asked to pay $50 each to cover the cost. The total amount is divided equally between both of you, regardless of who threw the ball that actually broke the window. 

On the other hand, several liability means that each person involved is responsible for the entire amount of the damage. Let's say your friend doesn't have any money to pay for the repair, but you do. In this case, you might be asked to pay the full $100 to fix the window, even if your friend was equally responsible for causing the damage. 

Joint and several liability helps ensure that the person who suffered the harm or damage can receive compensation, even if one of the responsible parties is unable to pay. It allows the injured party to seek payment from any or all of the responsible parties to cover the full amount of the damages. 

Overall, joint and several liability is a way to distribute responsibility and make sure that everyone involved in a situation takes responsibility for their actions, either together or individually, depending on the circumstances. 


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