Not Suing A Defendant Can Cost You Money
When you sue someone who may be liable for your injuries, it is always best to sue everybody who may be liable. That’s because in some kinds of accidents, there may be more than one person or business who acted negligently to cause your injuries.
How Defendants are Omitted
But sometimes, victims don’t sue everyone. Maybe their injury attorney failed to recognize all the possible defendants who may be responsible. Sometimes, an attorney may think there’s a strategic reason to leave out a Defendant.
But regardless of why, leaving out a defendant—that is, not actually suing a defendant—can have serious consequences.
The Fabre Case
This is because of an old case, known as Fabre vs. Marin, which created the concept of the Fabre defendant. A Fabre defendant is a defendant who may have caused your injury, but for any of a number of reasons, is not an actual named defendant in the suit—in other words, that Fabre defendant was never actually ever sued.
However, even though that Fabre defendant was never sued, the jury can still determine that the person or entity that was not sued, is liable to some degree for your accident or injuries. If the jury does that, you will never recover the amount of money that the un-sued defendant would have owed.
Let’s look at a practical example.
You are attacked in your apartment complex, and you sue the landlord for negligent security. The landlord says that the front gate was broken, because a gate company that was supposed to fix the gate, never did. So the landlord is blaming the gate company. You sue the landlord, but not the gate company.
At trial, the jury says that you have sustained injuries worth $100,000, and that the landlord is 50% responsible, and the gate company is 50% responsible. That means that the gate company would owe you $50,000, half of your $100,000.
However, you never sued the gate company. So, the maximum you will ever recover is the $50,000 from the landlord. You have just lost out on half of your overall damages, simply because you allowed the jury to give liability to someone that you never sued, and now that’s recovery that you will never see.
Defendants Like Fabre Defendants
Many defendants will point the finger of blame at third parties. They want you to have to sue as many defendants as possible. After all, the more defendants there are, the more people the jury could hold responsible—the initial defendant isn’t left “holding the bag,” owing you 100% of whatever your damages are.
Defendants also point the finger because they want to make your case more difficult and more complex—they want you to have to fight against as many potential defendants as possible.
However, this should not deter you—your attorney will determine whether or not a defendant should be sued or not.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today to make sure that your injury case is handled the right way.