Contributory Negligence

Some cases of negligence make it simple to determine who is liable for an injury suffered as a result of negligence, but many cases are not so cut and dry. When a victim of negligence is found to be partially responsible for their own injuries, compensation amounts can be severely reduced or even eliminated completely.

Individuals who find themselves injured in a situation that involved negligence on their part and the part of others should seek legal assistance to pursue compensation.

What is Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence occurs when the person who is a victim of negligence also acted negligently during the situation in which they became injured.

When the negligence case goes to court, the court will take this contribution into account when determining liability and calculating any compensation including damages.

Whether or not a victim is eligible to receive compensation when contributory negligence was a factor in their injuries depends on the state in which the incident occurred.

Some states will not allow a person to collect compensation at all if this is the case, but most states simply require the court to adjust compensation according to the victim’s degree of contribution to the situation that resulted in personal injury.

States that allow compensation to be sought in these cases consider this negligence to be comparative negligence.The states that still use the concept of contributory negligence are:

  •  Alabama
  •  Maryland
  •  North Carolina
  •  Virginia
  •  Washington D.C.

Examples of Contributory Negligence

In a situation where contributory negligence is involved, the victim and the responsible party both act negligently in a way that leads to injury of the victim.

An example of a situation in which this applies is when a pedestrian fails to look for cars before crossing the street. If a car being driven by a person who is driving erratically or speeding hits the pedestrian, both the pedestrian and the driver of the car could be held liable for the accident.

Another example of contributory negligence would be if a person fails to utilize safety equipment while on the job.

If an accident occurs that is the result of negligence on the part of the employer, the employee would be partially to blame for any injuries sustained during this accident due to a failure to use the safety equipment that has been provided.

Getting Help with Contributory Negligence

If you were injured in a situation that was caused in part by negligence on your part, you need a lawyer on your side to help you prove that someone else also acted negligently in a way that entitles you to compensation.

Dealing with injuries related to negligence can be difficult, and having legal assistance in proving your case is necessary.

Contributory negligence in states that still use this legal concept will leave you with no compensation to pay for medical expenses, lost wages or damages that may result from such an injury, so it is important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney.

Additional Locations


Our Negligence Articles & Resources

Criminal Negligence
Clinical Negligence
Comparative Negligence

External Negligence Resources

Negligence Oversimplified from UVM
Common Questions on Negligence from Pace
Cornell Negligence Overview

Gross Negligence
Contributory Negligence
Vicarious Liability

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