The doctrine of contributory negligence states that, in a claim for personal injury, the negligence on the part of the plaintiff and the defendant are considered by the courts before determining the amount of damages the plaintiff is entitled to. If the negligence on the part of the plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident, then his negligence is considered to have contributed to the overall negligence due to which the accident ensued. Such negligence by the plaintiff is known as contributory negligence in law.
Examples of Contributory Negligence
In a case involving contributory negligence, it is for insurance attorneys of the defendant to present before the court that negligence on both sides that was responsible for the accident. Thereby the injuries caused and costs incurred should be viewed through the principle of contributory negligence. Thus the liability of the insurance company reduces.
Negligence can be the result of action or inaction by the parties involved and if one person does not act with reasonable care, then his action may result in injury to the other person. He is therefore said to have been negligent which may be intentional or otherwise.
In the case of wrongful death and injuries happening at worksites, the claim will be in the form of wrongful death claims and Workers’ Compensation claims rather than personal injuries claim. However, the underlying governing principle will be negligence in both cases.
In cases involving contributory negligence, it is for the claiming party to substantiate that the accident and personal injuries sustained were only due to the negligence of the other party, the defendant, and he was no way responsible for the negligence in any part thereof. If the defendant is able to establish even 1% of contributory negligence from the plaintiff, then he will be held liable for same.
Thus from what the doctrine of contributory negligence states and embodies is that there are three
basic elements that contribute to negligence in personal injury cases.
(i) The claimant is partly negligent and responsible for the accident.
(ii) Such negligence resulted in personal injury or damage.
(iii) The defendant deserves reduced damages that are just and equitable in the eye of the law.
States have followed that the doctrine does not redeem the defendant of his fault nor does it forgive him of the act. Instead, the law that deals with contributory negligence states that the plaintiff or the victim to accept the share of his fault thereby barring him from getting compensated to the extent of his share to the negligence.