joint liability

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Liability if several defendants, each accountable for the whole damage caused by the cumulative effect of the breach of duty by each defendant. Defendant that paid all the plaintiffs damages may obtain contribution from other defendants.

Joint liability is different from joint and several liability in that in joint liability the responsibility is spread equally among the defendants whereas in joint and several liability responsibility shifts depending on the degree/share of defendant’s responsibility that is found by a judge or a jury.

Compare: several liability

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]