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Contributory Negligence Law

HomeAuto AccidentContributory Negligence Law

Contributory negligence is a term that elucidates the person’s negligent acts, which causes their injury.

In some of the civil courts of the U.S., if the plaintiff proves to have voluntarily disregarded basic social rules and warnings and assumed risks to dangers,

then/even if they are just wholly or partially responsible, no compensation will provide even though the person was also involved in the accident and could have been at fault.

In common law, the contributory negligence defense serves as complete barring of recovery.

Contributory negligence example

For example, Rick tried to cross the street and got hit by a moped ridden by Steward. Now Rick files a case against Steward, demanding compensation for his injuries.

However, Steward’s lawyer uses the contributory negligence law in defense and proves Rick tried to cross the street when the street sign specified that pedestrians must not cross the road.

Thus, Rick denies the complete compensation he demanded, even though he was partially or entirely at fault.

In Which States of the U.S. is the Contributory Negligence Law Active?

Contributory negligence law is now active only in Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, Washington D.C., and North Carolina.

The majority of states in the U.S. have replaced contributory negligence law with comparative negligence law.

If any degree of fault, each party analyzing and compensation decided as per the concerned parties’ ‘extent of the fault.’

In the above example, if Rick was responsible for his injury due to a negligent act of 30%, then the compensatory amount will see a deduction by that much percentage, and Rick will receive 30% less. In comparison, Steward will have to pay the rest of the 70% amount as compensation.

Read more about Car accident defenses.

Get a Personal Attorney to Review Your Claim

Suppose you have been sued for causing damage due to negligent acts but believe that the plaintiff is at fault at least partially. In that case, you should be able to file a counterclaim for contributory or comparative negligence.

You can have a personal injury attorney study your case and claim free of charge.


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