Contributory negligence is a term that elucidates the person’s negligent acts, which causes his or her injury.
In some of the civil courts of the U.S. if the plaintiff is proved to have voluntarily disregarded basic social rules and warnings, and assumed risks to dangers, then even if he/she is just wholly or partially responsible, no compensation will be provided even though the person sued 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 was trying 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 that Rick was trying to cross the street when the street sign specified that pedestrians must not cross the road.
Thus, Rick will be denied complete compensation he demanded, even though he was just partially or entirely at fault.
In Which States of the U.S. is the Contributory Negligence Law Active?
The majority of states in the U.S. have replaced contributory negligence law with comparative negligence law.
In the latter, the degree of fault of each party is analyzed, and compensation, if any, is decided as per the ‘extent of fault’ of the concerned parties.
In the above example, if Rick was responsible for his injury due to negligent act of 30%, then the compensatory amount will see a deduction by that much percentage, and Rick will receive 30% less, while 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
If you have been sued for causing damage due to negligent acts, but believe that the plaintiff is at fault at least partially, then 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.