Two negligent parties but only one of which caused the damage?
Two or more parties but some combination of them caused the damage, and 1 or more could be blame free?
Situation 1 involves two parties, both of whom acted negligently, say, by firing a rifle within the city limits, but only one bullet struck the injured party. The court in California and many states allows the injured party to file suit against both parties and let the two parties prove who did or didn’t cause the injury. This situation could arise in a property loss from a construction defect, two speeding vehicles colliding and only one of which struck our assured’s building, or product that is improperly installed from improper instructions from a manufacturer. The plaintiff may not be able to prove which negligent party caused his loss.In California, the case dealing with this situation and authorizes such an approach is Summers v. Tice (1948) 33 C.2d 80, 199 P.2d 1.
Situation 2 involves multiple parties, but some combination of whom caused the loss, but also some of whom may be blame-free. In California, this scenario is discussed in Ybarra v. Spangard (1944) 25 C.2 486, 154 P.2d 687. That case involved a patient having an operation. He was injured by some combination of medical care personnel in the operating room, but he, being under anesthesia, couldn’t identify who was there or who did what. The court nevertheless allowed the plaintiff to proceed, and let the defendants prove who were liable parties and who were blame-free. To do:
identify all the players in a scenario involving the property loss.
identify the conduct of each (such as seller, neighbor, installer, manufacturer, etc.).
identify our assured’s activities with regard to each player.identify who was negligent.
identify whose negligent had a causal relation to the assured’s loss.demand payment from all negligent parties or their liability carrier.