On several occasions, we have been confronted with a situation where a client has been in back-to-back motor vehicle accidents. This unfortunate circumstance was recently a reality for our client, NK.
NK was in a serious car accident in January, only to be in the same situation seven months later. She suffered significant injuries in the first accident that were exacerbated, i.e. made worse, in the second accident. Traditionally, two separate actions would be commenced on behalf of NK. The two actions would proceed independently until a motion to consolidate was made, usually by one of the opposing defendants. A motion to consolidate is granted when two different actions involve common questions of law or fact.
In a situation involving two distinct accidents, the motion would be granted since the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries would typically be called into question. Did they arise from the first or second accident?
In order to avoid inconsistent judgments, consolidation is often necessary. In an effort to avoid this type of motion practice, we now allege multiple accidents within one complaint. The facts surrounding each individual accident are alleged separately and we include a paragraph that the named defendants are each joint and severally liable.
In this matter, all parties are fully aware of the facts and circumstances surrounding each accident from the inception of the action. This avoids unnecessary motion practice and allows us to streamline the plaintiff’s causes of action. Also, this can be beneficial at trial if one or both of the insurance company attorneys point the finger at the other party as the cause of the accident. If this occurs, we can then argue we don’t care who caused the injuries, just find in favor of the plaintiff.