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Joint Tortfeasors Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

The cases reported on this page are a compilation of cases from the Virginia Supreme Court summarized by Brien Roche. They deal with the topic of joint tortfeasors and the related topic of personal injury.For more information about joint tortfeasors see the pages on Wikipedia. 

Joint Tortfeasors-Statutes

See Va. Code § 8.01-443 indicating that when judgment against one tortfeasor has been satisfied then that shall serve as bar as to other tortfeasors.

Joint Tortfeasors-Cases

2007 Torloni v. Commonwealth, 274 Va. 261, 645 S.E.2d 487.

Plaintiff filed claim against Commonwealth along with other motorist. Claim against other motorist was settled for $100,000. Trial court improperly reduced the amount claimed against the Commonwealth to $100,000 and then applied Va. Code § 8.01-35.1 to dismiss the claim against the Commonwealth on the grounds that the Commonwealth was entitled to a dollar for dollar credit for the plaintiff’s settlement with the other party. That was error. Trial court should not have reduced the ad damnum against the Commonwealth; rather, it should have allowed the case to go to verdict and then the $100,000 settlement would have been credited against that verdict and if the amount left standing was still over $100,000 then the plaintiff would have been entitled to recover only that statutory cap against the Commonwealth.

1982 Dwyer v. Yurgaitis, 224 Va. 176, 294 S.E.2d 792.

Where plaintiff failed to segregate injuries received in collisions with vehicles of two drivers her general release of one tortfeasor released all other tortfeasors from liability. Plaintiff waived right to jury trial on release.

1978 Strickland v. Dunn, 219 Va. 76, 244 S.E.2d 764.

Release of one tortfeasor releases all joint tortfeasors. Usually for jury to say whether physician’s negligent act caused separate and distinct injury, but not where, as here, plaintiff has joined all defendants for same wrong.

1974 Washington v. Williams, 215 Va. 353, 210 S.E.2d 154.

Plaintiff initially injured in automobile accident. Preparatory to removal of wiring in jaw, defendant physician injected preoperative medication into plaintiff’s left arm. Later, left hand became gangrenous and forearm was amputated. (1) If negligence of treating physician results in mere aggravation of injury, release of original tortfeasor operates to release physician. (2) If negligence results in separate and distinct injury, such release does not operate to release physician unless injured party has received full satisfaction or has agreed to accept certain amount as full satisfaction.

1973 Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Minnifield, 213 Va. 797, 196 S.E.2d 75.

Right of contribution arises when one tortfeasor has paid claims for which other wrongdoer is also liable. Insurer making settlement of claim against its insured is subrogated to right of contribution.

1966 Finley, Inc. v. Waddell, 207 Va. 602, 151 S.E.2d 347.

Nuisance case. If defendant acts independently, then he is liable for damages which result from his own act only.

1950 Shortt v. Hudson Supply & Equip. Co., 191 Va. 306, 60 S.E.2d 900.

Employee aboard train injured in collision with vehicle, allegedly caused by defendants. Employee sued defendants after settling with his employer, Norfolk & Western Railway. Release of one joint tortfeasor releases all.

1946 Panther Coal Co. v. Looney, 185 Va. 758, 40 S.E.2d 298.

Liability of joint contributors is not necessarily that of joint tortfeasors. If persons maintain nuisance independently and not in concert with others, each is liable for his own conduct only. Difficulty in determining damages does not affect this rule.

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Joint Tortfeasors Cases Summarized By Personal Injury Attorney

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