What Is Contributory Negligence And How Can It Affect Your Claim?

When it comes to fault in an accident, it is often not a black and white issue. There are many ways in which an injured party may be found partially at fault for an accident. When it comes to personal injury the tendency is to apportion responsibility between parties in an accident.

How Does Contributory Negligence Affect an Award?

An example of contributory negligence would be if an injured driver was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of an accident. The injured party may be apportioned 25% fault for their own injuries. When liability is split between the parties, the damage awards are adjusted to that percentage. For example, if your case was worth $100,000, the 25% that you were liable for would be deducted and the amount you would recover would only be $75,000.

In what ways can you be contributorily negligent for your own injuries in an accident? There are many ways you can be found negligent in different instances. Let’s take a look at these.

As a Driver

As in the example above, if you are not wearing a seatbelt, you may be found partially liable for your own injuries. The precept behind this is that you would not have suffered the extent of injuries you have if you had been wearing a seatbelt. This is regardless of who actually caused the accident. Contributory negligence also extends to abiding by all rules and regulations of the road and exercising safe driving habits such as checking mirrors and watching for other cars.

Driving under the influence or while engaging in distracting behavior will also be considered contributorily negligent, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. It is up to a driver to take personal care of their own safety of themselves and others while behind the wheel of a car.

As a Pedestrian

If you have been injured in a pedestrian accident, there are ways you can be found contributorily negligent for your own injuries. As a pedestrian, you are responsible for taking reasonable steps toward your own safety. Although a pedestrian is far more vulnerable in the case of an accident and drivers have a responsibility to be attentive to their surroundings, a pedestrian has an obligation to ensure their own safety when walking where there are cars and road traffic by crossing at crosswalks and following all pedestrian laws.

As a Cyclist

Failing to abide by cycling laws and even failing to wear a helmet can result in the injured party being found contributorily negligent. Negligence can be apportioned differently depending upon the injury as well. For instance, a cyclist not wearing a helmet may be found more negligent if the injury was a brain injury instead of a broken bone.

If you have been injured in an accident, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is to know your legal rights. Call the injury lawyers at AB Personal Injury Lawyer. We have been the personal injury lawyers in Sault Ste. Marie and throughout Ontario that more accident victims have trusted throughout the years. With over fifty years combined experience, we can assist you after an injury. Call us to discuss your legal rights with a no-cost consultation.