Written on Feb 26, 2013 10:28:00 AM
Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence
Topics: auto accident tips
From car accidents to dog bites to slip and falls, accident cases revolve around a plaintiff who is claiming damages from someone who committed some form of negligence. Negligence is defined as failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances in protecting others from a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm in a particular situation.
In our last post we covered comparative negligence—a legal defense that claims the plaintiff is partially responsible for their own injuries. Here, we’ll review this term as well as contributory negligence and mixed contributory and comparative negligence.
Contributory Versus Comparative Negligence
Pure Contributory Negligence states that when the plaintiff has contributed in any way to their own injuries, they cannot receive any damages. While contributory negligence is becoming less common, it still exists in some jurisdictions. Here’s an example of contributory negligence. Person A rear-ends Person B’s car causing injury to Person B. However, Person B was not wearing a seatbelt. Since not wearing a seatbelt contributed at least somewhat to Person B’s injuries, Person B cannot receive any damages from Person A. Even if Person B is only slightly at fault, they cannot receive any damages for their injuries.
Pure Comparative negligence is a legal defense that claims the plaintiff is partially responsible for their own injuries, which affects the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover. Basically, the plaintiff’s award is limited to the actual percentage of blame that can be placed on the defendant for the plaintiff’s injuries. Let’s use the same example from above. Person A rear-ends Person B’s car causing injury to Person B. However, Person B was not wearing a seatbelt. Person B is deemed 30% at fault for their own injuries. This reduces the amount of damages the defendant (Person A) is responsible for. In this case, Person A owes 70% of the damages.
*Florida adopted comparative negligence in 1973.
Mixed Contributory and Comparative Negligence is a combination of comparative and contributory negligence. Under mixed contributory and comparative negligence (or modified comparative negligence), the plaintiff will receive either a percentage of damages or no damages, depending on the laws of the state. There are two types of this negligence described below.
- Modified Comparative Negligence with 50% rule
Under this law, if the plaintiff is responsible for 49% or less of the damages they will be compensated. However, if the plaintiff contributed to 50% or more of their own damages they will not be compensated.
- Modified Comparative Negligence with 51% rule
This law is very similar to the one above; the only difference is that 51% is the deciding factor. Basically, if the plaintiff is responsible for 50% or less of the damages they will be compensated. But, if the plaintiff contributed to 51% or more of their own damages they will not be compensated.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in any type of accident due to someone else’s negligence, then you may qualify for damages to cover your medical expenses, lost wages and possibly your pain and suffering. You need an experienced attorney by your side to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. At Lowman Law we understand the complicated nature of accident cases and can help you recover damages. We also understand the complicated nature of negligence cases and want to make sure that you are treated fairly in your accident case. Call Lowman Law Firm today to speak with an experienced accident lawyer about your case. Consultations are free and we don't charge you a fee unless we win your case! Call: 1-800-9-LOWMAN (toll free) or 352-796-0016.