Under Michigan law, specifically MCLA §600.2956, liability is “several only”, and is not “joint”. What that means is that a defendant cannot be held liable for anything greater than their percentage contribution of negligence.
For example, if damages are assessed at $100,000.00 in a dog bite case, the dog owner is considered no more than 5% at fault, and the dog-sitter is found to be 95% negligent in having caused the bite injuries, but has no money, that means that of the $100,000.00 in damages supposedly awarded, only $5,000.00 of that amount will be assessed against the collectible dog owner. You may well be out of luck, in collecting the other $95,000.00 from the dog-sitter, who was primarily responsible.
While it sounds reasonable and fair to assess damages in this way, it seems neither reasonable nor fair, when the injuries are yours, or those of a loved one, and you are left uncompensated. If you feel, as I do, that leaving injuries uncompensated, and potentially shunting the costs for such injuries into tax-supported programs like Medicare or Medicaid, then please consider contacting your State Senator and/or State Representative, by simply clicking the appropriate links below: