Joint Tortfeasor

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Two or more individuals with joint and several liability in a tort action for the same injury to the same person or property.

To be considered joint tortfeasors, the parties must act together in committing the wrong, or their acts, if independent of each other, must unite in causing a single injury. All who actively participate in the commission of a civil wrong are joint tortfeasors. Persons responsible for separate acts of negligence that combine in causing an injury are joint tortfeasors. The plaintiff has the option of suing one or more of the tortfeasors, either individually or as a group.

If the plaintiff is awarded damages, each joint tortfeasor is responsible for paying a portion of the damages, based on the percentage of the injury caused by his or her negligent act. The defendant who pays more than his or her share of the damages, or who pays more than he or she is at fault for, may bring an action to recover from the other culpable defendants under the principle of contribution.