The Meaning of Contributory Negligence

Sometimes the evidence indicates that a claimant has contributed to creation of the factors that caused a given accident, or has aggravated the effects of the accident-caused injuries. The legal system signals the existence of such evidence by pointing to allegations of contributory negligence.

The traditional approach to contributory negligence

Traditionally, a claimant that has been found guilty of contributory negligence gets denied any amount of compensation, regardless of the nature and extent of the claimant’s injuries.

The newer approach: comparative negligence

Most legal systems in Canada now base the size of a claimant’s compensation on the principle of comparative negligence. That has been viewed as a fairer method for determining how to compensate the victim of an accident.

Under pure comparative negligence, the jury looks at each party’s actions, during the moments that led up to the accident. It then reduces the plaintiff’s compensation in proportion to the degree for which the plaintiff has been held at-fault for the injury-causing accident.

According to the “pure” principle, the plaintiff has the right to receive even a small compensation, if he or she was found to be 60% or more at-fault for the accident-at-issue before the court. That same principle has been changed under a system with modified comparative negligence.

In the modified system the injured party can receive damages that are proportional to the injured party’s degree of fault, as long as one situation does not exist. If the injured party has been found to be more than 50% to 51% responsible for the accident, then he or she does not receive any compensation.

A situation in which none of the principles outlined above can apply

The legal system has ruled out the application of both contributory negligence and the 2 different forms of comparative negligence in certain situations. Those are situations in which the defendant has acted intentionally as per injury lawyer in Barrie.

For instance, there was a case where a dog owner’s pet attacked a female that was walking by the unleashed canine. The dog attacked that surprised female, causing her to spray mace in the dog’s face. If any of that mace had harmed the dog’s victim, she could not have sought any form of compensation.

That is due to the fact that the pet’s owner had intentionally allowed his or her dog to remain unleashed. That had allowed the same pet to attack the innocent woman. As a result, she had chosen to defend herself by using the small can of mace that she was carrying in her purse.