Potential Impact of Contributory Negligence On A Personal Injury Case

The first thing that everyone involved in a motor vehicle accident should be concerned with is their health and well-being. We often see the “blame game” start immediately after a collision has occurred between the parties involved in the accident as well as the police officers that have been sent to the scene and any witnesses that may be present. In most instances, statutory accident benefits may apply. However, if the accident was caused by another person’s or entity’s negligence, those victims that have suffered any injuries may be entitled to compensation for damages and financial losses.

Establishing Blame or Fault

Determining who is at fault or to blame for the accident can be somewhat challenging, especially when both drivers are accusing each other. Even it is obvious that the other driver was at fault, their insurer may argue that your actions or behavior contributed to the accident and your injuries. If that is the case, we have what is commonly referred to as “contributory negligence.” According to Legal Dictionary at Law.com, contributory negligence is defined as:

“a doctrine of common law that if a person was injured in part due to his/her own negligence (his/her negligence “contributed” to the accident), the injured party would not be entitled to collect any damages (money) from another party who supposedly caused the accident.”

In personal injury lawsuits were a person sustains injuries in an accident caused by a negligent driver, the personal injury lawyer in North Bay knows that an injured driver and their passengers may be entitled to damages for the following losses:

• hospital and medical expenses
• loss of care, companionship, or guidance for close family members
• loss of future earning capacity
• lost income
• pain and suffering
• other out of pocket expenses including attendant care, home maintenance expenses, occupational rehabilitation and retraining therapy, etc.

In personal injury cases, the size of the damage award is determined by the nature and extent of the person’s financial losses attributed to the accident and their injuries.

The Role of Contributory Negligence

In personal injury claim / tort claims, the law is very about the contributory negligence in that the injury victim’s ability to be awarded the full amount of compensation should be limited due to their role in contributing to the cause of the accident and their injuries. As a result, the injury victim (plaintiff) can only recover that percentage of damages that the at-fault driver has caused.

For example, if it’s determined that you were 20% liable or contributed 20% to the cause of the accident, the other driver is only liable for 80% of the amount of compensation that you are suing for. The concept of contributory negligence can be very complex. So, it is best to discuss your circumstances with an experienced personal injury lawyer.