Contributory Negligence

Being involved in an accident often causes you to suffer both physically and financially, which was usually caused by someone else’s negligent actions. If you seek to instigate legal proceedings against someone who caused you to suffer an injury, within the law, they may too have grounds for redress. Contributory negligence is a defence that reverses the burden of proof onto the defendant. The requirements for this defence are to demonstrate that the claimant did not take proper care to ensure their own safety and that because of this failure, it too contributed to the damage endured.

What is Contributory Negligence?

To ensure that you are safe and that the defendant does not have any grounds for redress you should ensure that all normal safety precautions are taken. For example, within the work place, all health and safety measures that are implemented should be adhered to and not ignored. Furthermore, within road traffic incidents, matters such as the safety of your own vehicle and seat belts etc should be worn at all times. As a general rule, if a parent is suing on behalf of a minor, it is more than likely that a child will not be found to have failed to take proper care.

Reasonable Care

The failure to take reasonable care must be a contributory cause to the damage suffered as opposed to the causation of the incident resulting in damage. Therefore, failure to wear a seat belt, failure to wear and properly secure a crash helmet or acting carelessly in situations where danger is likely to arise all warrant sufficient means for an action against the claimant within the defense of contributory negligence.
A further area that can arise is where there are joint tortfeasors. This can arise where there have been multiple parties that have contributed to an accident. In this instance, contributory negligence can operate as mechanism to determine the payouts involved within a personal injury claim. For example, where the main culprit injured someone but this was due to the negligent actions of another party, the ratio of payments issued by the parties can be divided equally or in more unequivocal terms.

For additional information on the law surrounding personal injuries, please visit our personal injury* claims page. 


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