Contributory Negligence in an Accident
Contributory negligence is currently a law in five states: Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, Washington DC, and Maryland. Comparative negligence (similar to comparative negligence), and the Last Clear Chance Doctrine are applicable laws in additional states. These laws may be applicable for car accident victims, as they pertain to who can file a lawsuit to receive compensatory damages. Let’s break these three down and provide some examples of how each works so that you can better understand the laws.
According to this law, a person who is at least partially at fault for an auto accident isn’t eligible to receive any monetary compensation for damages to their vehicle or to cover their medical costs. Contributory negligence means that they contributed in one way or another, no matter how minor, to the accident. Their participation in the accident negates their chances of receiving any kind of help with these costs, whether they are for loss of income, medical procedures, or vehicle repairs. Even if the accident involves ten cars and they are a mere 5% to blame for what occurred, contributory negligence kicks in. As you can imagine, many view this particular law as being harsh and unfair. However, it still must be followed in the 5 states that have this law on their books.
Comparative negligence, on the other hand, is law in 45 states and Ohio is included. According to comparative negligence laws, someone who was partly at fault for an accident can file for compensatory damages. However, any money awarded to them is limited to their at-fault percentage. The same is true if the person involved in the accident (the defendant) is sued by the plaintiff (the other party in the accident). If the defendant is found to have contributed 25% to the accident, then they are responsible for the percentage of the amount awarded to the plaintiff.
Last Clear Chance Doctrine
Finally, there’s the Last Clear Chance Doctrine. This is considered to be an exception to the contributory negligence law. If someone is involved in an accident and found partially at fault, but later proven the driver had enough time to avoid the incident but didn’t, then they may be liable for the entire accident.
No matter what, when you’re involved in an automobile accident, it’s up to you to ensure that you receive any monetary damages to which you’re due. You’ll need to hire an experienced attorney to navigate these waters for you. Accident attorneys understand the laws of contributory and comparative negligence and may be able to help you receive compensation for your injuries, lost income, and the repairs to your vehicle, even if you are found to be slightly at fault for the accident. Of course, the circumstance surrounding this can vary since every case is different.
If you were injured in a car accident, you may be eligible for damages. Contact me today and I’ll Make Them Pay!®