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Contributory Negligence: Making an Accident Benefits Claim

If you’ve been injured in an accident and are thinking about starting a personal injury lawsuit, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the notion of contributory negligence. Here’s what you need to know.

contributory negligence in personal injury law


Contributory negligence is a term that refers to an injured person’s degree of responsibility for their own injuries. This can affect the amount of compensation they’re entitled to receive. In short, the more responsible you are for your injuries, the less money you’ll receive. In many cases, the defendant’s lawyer will argue for as high a percentage of contributory negligence as possible. That’s why it’s important to hire a lawyer who understands the ins and outs of personal injury claims to ensure you get the maximum amount you deserve.


Liability isn’t necessarily absolute. However, in certain situations, one party can be 100% at-fault for someone else’s injury. If this is the case, contributory negligence doesn’t apply. Nevertheless, most injured persons bear at least some responsibility for their injuries.

Here are some examples in which contributory negligence would apply:

  • A cyclist is hit by a car while riding on the wrong side of a road

  • A driver talking on a phone they’re holding is hit by another driver running a red light

  • A drunk pedestrian trips and falls over poorly marked sidewalk construction

In each of these cases, the injured person has a legitimate claim for compensation because the incident was caused by someone else’s negligence. The car shouldn’t have hit the cyclist. The other car shouldn’t have run the red light. The contractor should’ve clearly marked the sidewalk construction. However, in each case, the injured person is also partly at fault. The cyclist shouldn’t have been riding on the wrong side of the road. The driver shouldn’t have been talking on the phone while holding it. The pedestrian’s intoxication prevented them from seeing the sidewalk’s dangerous state. It’s up to the judge to decide to what degree the injured person’s negligence contributed to their own injury.


If you’re involved in an accident, it’s crucial to hire a personal injury lawyer to defend you against false claims of contributory negligence. Moreover, an experienced lawyer will ensure your degree of responsibility isn’t unduly amplified. At Feifel & Gualazzi, we specialize in personal injury law and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Don’t delay, find out if you have a case by contacting us today.


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