Contributory Negligence Does Not Prevent A Claim For Damages - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Contributory Negligence Does Not Prevent A Claim For Damages

#AskKristyMoore

Accidents happen to even the most careful people. Whether your vehicle is hit in the rear at a stop sign by a distracted driver or you get hurt in a slip-and-fall accident caused by a building owner using the wrong type of wax on the floors, accidents and injuries caused by the fault of other people are common. You might be aware of your right to make a claim for damages against another party whose negligence causes an accident, but you might not know that you could still recover damages even if your own negligence contributed to causing the accident or your injuries.

What is negligence?

Negligence occurs when a person fails to exercise the level of care expected of a reasonably prudent person confronted by similar circumstances. For example, reasonably prudent drivers would be expected to pay attention to the road and maintain control over their vehicles. Someone texting on a cellphone while driving would negligent for not exercise the same level of care as the reasonably prudent driver.

Proving negligence in a personal injury case requires evidence establishing the defendant, the party against whom a claim for damages is made, had a duty of care toward the plaintiff, the person asserting the claim, and breached that duty of care resulting in injury to the plaintiff. The evidence must also prove the conduct of the defendant was the proximate cause of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.

The building owner who fails to remove ice from a sidewalk, and a driver who gets behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated create are examples of individuals whose conduct creates an unreasonable risk of harm to others. A judge or members of a jury could conclude from the evidence that their negligence caused the accident and injuries to the plaintiff making a claim for damages.

Contributory negligence

It can take an investigation to sort out the facts about how a particular accident occurred. A collision between two cars might appear to have been caused by one of the drivers failing to stop in time to avoid the crash because of being intoxicated, but an investigation could reveal that the injured driver of the other vehicle was not wearing a seat belt. Contributory negligence, which is negligence or fault on the part of the injured party that contributed to the damages, does not preclude a claim for damages. It could, however, diminish the amount of compensation awarded to the injured party.

Under the Negligence Act in Ontario, judges and jurors must apportion the damages based upon the extent of the negligence or fault of each of the parties. In other words, if a judge or jury finds that the failure of an injured claimant to wear a seat belt was a factor in causing or enhancing the person’s injuries, it can reduce the damages awarded by the degree of negligence or fault on the part of the plaintiff. So, for instance, if the failure to wear a seat belt is found to be 25% responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries, the damages paid by the defendant would be reduced by 25%.

Contributory negligence accident lawyers

It is important to keep in mind that contributory negligence does not mean you should not pursue a claim for damages against the party whose negligence caused the accident in which you were injured. The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond use their years of experience successfully handling claims for compensation on behalf of injured accident victims to evaluate the facts of your claim and advise you about the best way to proceed. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.

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