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What to know about contributory negligence

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2022 | Personal Injury

Injured parties can commonly seek damages to pay medical costs, but determining fault may get tricky in some cases. There are several doctrines states use to restrict the amount of compensation in personal injury cases. A plaintiff in West Chester Township, Ohio, is commonly subjected to the state’s negligence law, which is a contributory fault.

Overview of contributory fault

Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that puts the blame for accidents on both parties. It does not prevent an injured party from seeking damages, but it lowers the c0ompensation amount.

The amount of compensation the plaintiff receives for their personal injury case is based on the percentage of fault deducted from the amount they seek. Under the old pure contributory negligence laws, the plaintiff could not collect damages, even if they are 1% negligent. For example, if a person is speeding, and another driver hits them causing injury, they may not be able to collect damages.

Elements needed for a case

A personal injury case must show the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff or a basic level of safety. For example, drivers are required to follow the rules of the road and property owners to keep property reasonably safe.

Their negligence caused them to breach the duty of care, which caused harm to the plaintiff. The logic of “but-for” often comes into play, meaning but for the negligence of the defendant, would the party be injured? To defend in terms of contributory negligence, the defendant must prove the plaintiff was negligent, depending on the jurisdiction.

Plaintiffs may recover damages if their percentage of fault is not more than the defendant’s. In some cases, there could be more than one responsible party, such as an employer or government entity. However, injured parties only have so much time to file a case under the statutes of limitation.