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Contributory Negligence: What It Is & How It Could Influence Your Case

Accidents happen on a daily basis, damaging property and inflicting injuries. The question that remains in the aftermath always revolves around who might have been at fault for its occurrence. While that might seem like a simple question, the answer is not always straightforward. This is where the concept of contributory negligence comes in, providing a defense to a negligent party if the party making the claim is also negligent. For an overview of what contributory negligence means and how it can impact your case, read on to learn more.

Negligence in Accident and Injury Claims

In a personal injury case, if an individual acted negligently and his or her actions caused another individual to become injured, the negligent individual would be held legally responsible for paying damages. For this type of claim to be successful, the injured party would have to prove:

  • The negligent person owed a duty of reasonable care to the injured person
  • The negligent person failed to act in a reasonable way, or breached his or her duty of care
  • The negligent individual’s breach was the cause of the other party’s injuries
  • The negligent individual’s breach was the proximate cause of the other party’s injures
  • Actual injuries were sustained for which the injured person can claim damages

Contributory negligence adds an extra facet to a personal injury case. This concept is used to characterize conduct that creates an unreasonable risk to one’s self. Therefore, when an individual does not act in a reasonable manner and sustains injuries, he or she might be held responsible for those injuries and unable to obtain damages from another party, even though another party also negligently caused the accident to occur.

Washington, D.C., Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia all apply contributory negligence to some or all personal injury cases. What does this mean for your case? If you are found at fault for the harm you are alleging in a case, you will not be entitled to compensation from the defendant. It is also crucial to note that for contributory negligence to apply, the negligent behavior must have actually contributed to the injuries that were sustained in the accident. Otherwise, it cannot be applied as a defense. For example, if you are stopped at a red light and rear-ended, the person who struck you likely cannot avoid liability because your headlight was out since that did not contribute to the accident.

Washington DC Personal Injury Attorneys

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by another negligent person, you need to obtain skilled legal representation as soon as possible to increase your chances of obtaining maximum compensation. At Simeone & Miller, LLP, our DC personal injury attorneys offer superior representation for wrongfully injured individuals. Do not hesitate to reach out to us. Our team has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients and will commit ourselves to fighting for you.

Contact us today at (202) 888-0872 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our esteemed legal team.