This decision means that the defendants in a law suit can throw each other under the bus to get out of paying. In many cases the full damages awarded to the victim will never be paid at all.
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania (PRWEB) July 05, 2012
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed the Fair Share Act into law June 28 (Legal Newsline June 27, 2012), a hotly disputed piece of legislature that represents a win for insurance companies and large corporations. The law, which was touted as a reform by its proponents, represents a major shift in the way civil lawsuits are handled. It aims to make lawsuits more fair, but attorney John McMahon of McMahon, McMahon and Lentz warns it will have the opposite effect for victims.
Under previous law, if a lawsuit was brought forward against multiple defendants, any one or all of them could end up paying the damages. This rule, known as “joint and several” liability, was done away with by the Fair Share Act. Instead, the act tells courts to assign a percentage of blame to each defendant, and none of them can be required to pay more than that percent.
McMahon worries that this will end up meaning damages are never paid in some cases at all – such as when an individual defendant has no money to pay them, and the company they own or worked for is assigned a very low percent of blame.
“The insurance companies are celebrating this one,” McMahon said. “Basically, this decision means that the defendants in a law suit can throw each other under the bus to get out of paying. In many cases the full damages awarded to the victim will never be paid at all.”
The Fair Share Act allows exceptions. For example, if a defendant is assigned 60% of the blame or more they can still be held liable for the full 100% if the others don't pay. But McMahon said these exceptions aren't enough.
“Imagine a faulty toy that injures the kids who play with it,” she said. “Dozens of victims bring a lawsuit against the manufacturer, a small toy company, and their liability insurance company. The insurance company is the one who can actually afford to pay, but the toy company will get 60% of the blame. The result is that most families won't be compensated.”
About John I. McMahon Jr.:
John McMahon Jr. has an extensive track record of success in the courtroom. Years of experience, exceptional ability as a trial lawyer and caring about his client's outcomes are why he is the right choice for your personal injury case. Call McMahon, McMahon and Lentz today at 610-272-9502.