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What Should I Know About Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence?
If you are filing a claim for a personal injury as a result of any type of accident, you are likely to come across two terms: contributory negligence and comparative negligence. Understanding which is which and what exactly these phrases mean can be instrumental in determining the outcome of your case. Luckily, the expert attorneys from Jenkins Block & Associates are here to help explain them to you- read on to find out more!
Negligence: An Overview
Simply put, negligence in a case defines the action (or lack thereof) taken by one individual that creates a risk/causes an injury to another. Negligence might take the form of driving under the influence, for instance; by not adhering to the law of the road, the individual is demonstrating negligence and endangering others’ safety. But from that broad category of negligence comes two different forms of it: contributory and comparative.
What is Contributory Negligence?
As the name suggests, contributory negligence refers to the kind of negligence that the individual him/herself contributes to by acting in manner that creates or heightens risk. For example, if two parties are involved in a car accident and one of the individuals had been using a cell phone while driving, that party could be liable for contributory negligence. Their lack of attention in such a situation contributed directly to the accident, and therefore they are at least partially at fault. The other party, in such a case, would work to prove contributory negligence and, in the process, reduce or remove the compensation the at-fault party sought for damages.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence, rather than being completely distinct from contributory negligence, serves more as a way to qualify it. Contributory negligence more often than not removes any possibility of the at-fault party receiving compensation. Comparative negligence, on the other hand, takes into account the relative fault of all parties involved in the accident and reflects that in the amount of compensation that ends up being awarded in the case. This approach to a negligence claim is seen by many as a more nuanced and fair alternative to the strict limitations imposed by contributory negligence cases.
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