Q: I was involved in two car accidents. Will the second accident affect my first case?
A: To recover bodily injury compensation a plaintiff must prove not only that a defendant was negligent, but also that the defendant’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Thus, both defendants might argue that you are unable to prove which of your injuries were sustained in your first accident, as opposed to your second accident, and that you are therefore unable to prove your case.
Assuming you injured different parts of your body in each incident, proving which injuries were the result of each accident shouldn’t be an issue. In fact, it is often possible to prove apportionment even where the same body part was injured in both cases. This may be accomplished, for example, by comparing medical imaging that occurred between the first and second incident with imaging conducted subsequent to the second incident.
A more interesting issue arises if you are able to prove you injured the same body part in both Accidents 1 and 2, but unable to prove the extent to which the injury is attributable to each incident. In this situation the burden of proving apportionment shifts to the defendants. If the defendants are unable to prove the extent to which their respective negligence contributed to your injuries, then each defendant is jointly and severally liable for the entirety of your injuries.
About the Author
Steve Dimopoulos is a personal injury attorney and bar exam expert having scored in the 99th percentile (top one percent nationally) on the multi-state bar exam. Dimopoulos has recovered millions on behalf of clients in Nevada, Florida, and Michigan, the three states in which he is licensed. Submit your personal injury questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.