A several obligation is one where each of the debtors is responsible for a proportionate part of the debt, and each creditor is entitled to only a proportionate part of the credit. A joint obligation is one in which each debtor is liable for the entire obligation, and each creditor is entitled to demand the whole obligation. Hence, in several obligation, each creditor can recover only his share of the obligation, and each debtor can be made to pay only his part; whereas, in joint obligation, each creditor may enforce the entire obligation, and each debtor may be obliged to pay in full.
In legal terms, a liability is synonymous to a debt or obligation. These three denote a juridical or legal relation whereby one of them, known as the creditor, may demand of the other, known as the debtor a definite conduct, like payment or the rendering of service. Applied to a car accident scenario, the injured party claiming damages is the creditor while the negligent party who caused the injury is the debtor. The former can demand reparation for damages suffered while the latter has the positive duty to pay.
Financial transactions with banks usually apply the joint liability principle to ensure payment. A stipulation in the contract specifies that the obligation between multiple parties is joint and that any one of the parties may be held liable for the entire amount of obligation. Loans, mortgage, and other arrangement undertaken by a married couple with a bank or other financial institution are usually joint liabilities. In case one of the spouses dies, the surviving spouse will still be liable for the entire outstanding obligation. Several liability is different from joint liability because it connotes a situation where multiple parties are held answerable or accountable for their proportionate obligation. A multiple car collision is a good illustration. There are several parties involved, but each party will only be responsible for a percentage of the damage depending on the degree of culpability or negligence they have in relation to the accident.
There is however, another type of liability, which must not be mistaken for the previous two types. This is the joint and several obligations, in which there are more than two parties and each of the parties can be held responsible for the same act or omission and be required to pay for the damages suffered. In such a case, the court may render judgment awarding sums for compensation and such obligation can be enforced against any one, several, or all of the guilty parties. The creditor can recover the entire amount from one party or split it among the other parties liable. This action is very practical for the creditor or claimant since he has the option to enforce payment from any of the debtors. Of course, the creditor will likely choose to demand from the party who is most capable to pay. This relieves the creditor of the time and effort of running after all the parties, who may not even be solvent to satisfy the claim. If you have been involved in a personal injury accident and are having trouble identifying who to name as a defendant and in establishing who is liable to pay compensation and to what extent they are liable, it is strongly advised that you speak with a personal injury lawyer in your area.
A personal injury lawyer has years of knowledge and experience dealing with issues such as this and can make the entire process of assessing who to claim compensation from much less time consuming and stressful than if you tackled it on your own.
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