We talk about contributory negligence when the lack of care of an individual contributed to the injury or harm of someone else. This is often defined as partial or full by the individual that sues.
Whether or not the plaintiff was negligent depends on several things and needs to be proved by the victim. This can be very easy, like in bicycle accident cases. A bicycle accident lawyer can easily find the proof you need. In other cases, proving negligence is much more difficult, like in a chain reaction car crash.
Partial Or Full Defense
Contributory negligence for a plaintiff leads to partial or full defense. This is based on the negligence shown and whether or not the defendant showed negligence. When the negligence of the plaintiff is considered to be the sole responsibility for the injury, the defendant does not have any liability for what happened.
With partial negligence, we are faced with situations in which both parties shared some sort of fault. For instance, you walked out onto the street and did not look. After, you were hit by a speeding vehicle. In such a situation, it is considered that both parties are negligent. It will be the courts that will determine contributory negligence and how much the victim is responsible.
Full defense in our example would be when the car was not speeding and the driver was not negligent in any other way. This is where the contributory negligence of the plaintiff is considered to be 100%. Nobody can use contributory negligence as a legal defense when the conduct of the defendant sums up to intentional or malicious wrongdoing.
Why Does Contributory Negligence Exist?
Contributory negligence was designed to protect people from full personal injury claims when the actions of the victim played a part in the outcome of the accident. The idea is to assign percentages of blame so that it can be determined who the victim is and who the guilty party is.
Different laws exist in different states when it comes to contributory negligence. In some US states, the law dictates that the victim needs to have a fault of under 51% in order to be able to file a personal injury claim. In others, it does not matter if the victim did something wrong and a claim can be filed.
Proving The Case
When defendants use contributory negligence as a way to stop the personal injury claim or pay less, it is the defendant that has to prove the negligence of the plaintiff. Basically, the defendant needs to do the same thing as the plaintiff, prove that the other party shared some sort of fault in what happened.
Getting The Help Of An Attorney
Whenever you want to file an injury claim or you are the one that needs to use contributory negligence as a way to protect yourself from making a huge payment as the victim played a part in what happened, the help of an experienced personal injury attorney is priceless. Never go to court without one since this would lead to a very bad result.
Keep in mind that personal injury laws are very complex. Only navigate them with someone that fully understands them.