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What Is Contributory Negligence?

Posted on: December 28, 2016 by Edwards & Patterson Law

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In a personal injury case, establishing liability is not always a cut and dried affair where one party is entirely at fault. There are frequently cases where multiple factors contribute to the accident. In those instances, more than one party could share the blame. When that happens, a court will reduce the amount of compensation a plaintiff might have gotten otherwise. This is where the term contributory negligence comes into play.

Contributory Negligence

In the context of personal injury lawsuits, the term contributory negligence essentially means sharing the blame. That is, some action or inaction on the part of the plaintiff contributed to the cause of the accident.

For example, a driver runs a red light and injures a pedestrian who crossed the road into the path of the car outside of a crosswalk while texting on his phone. The court may find that the pedestrian filing suit contributed to his own injuries by crossing the road negligently. Consequently, he would be eligible for a lesser amount of damages since it could be argued that his injuries would have been mitigated, if not avoided altogether, were it not for his own negligence.

Another example of contributory negligence: Driver A is driving at night with a broken headlight. Driver B swerves across the center-line, colliding with Driver B. While it is clear in this case that Driver B is primarily at fault, the broken headlight may cost Driver A some of the compensation he or she may have otherwise been eligible to receive since the broken headlight made the car less visible to Driver B.

Additionally, Oklahoma law recognizes something called comparative negligence. It essentially assigns a percentage of liability to each party when both are partially at fault. If a driver is found to be at least 51% at fault, he or she is ineligible to receive compensation.

Get Maximum Compensation with a Personal Injury Attorney

Whether you are partly responsible for an accident or not, you still have suffered loss and deserve compensation. Your personal injury attorney should be well-versed in Oklahoma personal injury law, and have the resources and dedication to fight for you. Edwards & Patterson Law is the legal team to turn to when you want to be sure you get the compensation you deserve.

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