Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that bars a plaintiff from recovering damages in a personal injury case if they contributed to their own injuries.
Under the doctrine of contributory negligence, even if a defendant is negligent, a plaintiff cannot recover damages if they were even 1% at fault for the accident. This doctrine is based on the principle that a person should not be able to recover damages for injuries that they caused themselves.
Contributory negligence is a complete bar to recovery, meaning that a plaintiff cannot recover any damages, even if the defendant was primarily at fault for the accident. This can be a harsh doctrine, especially in cases where the plaintiff’s negligence was minor.
For example, if a plaintiff is crossing the street and is hit by a car that is speeding, the plaintiff may be considered to be contributorily negligent if they were not paying attention to the crosswalk. Even if the driver of the car was primarily at fault for the accident, the plaintiff would be barred from recovering any damages under the doctrine of contributory negligence.
The doctrine of contributory negligence is not followed in all jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions have adopted a doctrine of comparative negligence, which allows a plaintiff to recover damages even if they were partially at fault for the accident. Under comparative negligence, the plaintiff’s damages are reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to them.
If you have been injured in an accident and are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options, and can fight to get you the maximum compensation that you deserve.
Here are some examples of contributory negligence:
- A pedestrian crosses the street without looking both ways and is hit by a car.
- A driver fails to signal before turning and collides with another car.
- A worker on a construction site fails to wear a hard hat and is injured when a beam falls from above.
- A patient fails to follow their doctor’s instructions and aggravates their injury.
If you are unsure whether your actions may have contributed to your accident, it is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your case.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Contact us today to discuss your specific situation.