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Contributory Negligence Definition

Contributory Negligence Definition

There is more than one contributory negligence definition to take note of when considering a claim for personal injury compensation. It can refer both to how you have personally contributed to an accident or your injuries, or when a number of parties are accountable for the accident in which you experienced a loss, injury or the worsening of a condition.

“First Party Contributory Negligence” refers to accidents and injuries to which you have partly contributed due to your own negligence, while “Third Party Contributory Negligence” applies to accidents caused by the carelessness of multiple third parties.

How Contributory Negligence Happens in an Accident

The first party contributory negligence definition applies in a scenario where if, for instance, a piece of equipment was overheating frequently but you didn’t report it. If you later suffered a burn injury due to the overheating item, contributory negligence may be a factor as you did not report the malfunction and, as a result, the compensation to which you may be eligible could be reduced due to your own carelessness.

As your employer is obliged to recognise any potential perils in the workplace through frequent safety inspections and his or her employee’s performances, you will still be eligible to some compensation. But your failure to report a dangerously overheating piece of equipment is an example of how contributory negligence affects the amount of compensation to which you would have been entitled.

How Contributory Negligence Happens with an Injury

The first party contributory negligence definition also applies in a situation where medical attention is not sought instantly after you are aware of an injury. The recommended action to take following any accident is to visit the accident and emergency department of the nearest hospital or to make an immediate appointment to your GP. However some will continue working regardless of the pain or while their physical condition is weakening, therefore making the condition worse than it was immediately following an accident or exposure to a causative hazard.

How contributory negligence happens in this case would be if, for example, your back has been injured in a manual handling accident which was caused by your employer’s negligence. However instead of acquiring medical attention you continued to work despite the pain until you were in agony. If you had informed your employer that you were injured but you continued working regardless – by your own choice – your employer will not be liable for any compensation after the initial injury.

When Contributory Negligence is in Doubt

The contributory negligence definition is more difficult to apply when you – or the party who caused the accident in which you were injured – believe that you were partially responsible for causing your injuries when you actually were not. How contributory negligence happens could be in doubt if, for instance, you were browsing in a supermarket when you slipped in a pool of liquid and injured your wrist.

You may see yourself as being partly responsible for your injuries in this situation, as you should have noticed where you were walking and seen something as clear as the liquid on your path. However the marketing strategy of a supermarket involves encouraging you to watch the items on shelves and, as a result, you will not be liable for your own injuries.

As long as you did not depend upon the first aid at the supermarket and you acquired professional medical attention following the accident, how contributory negligence affects compensation in this scenario should not be a factor.

How Contributory Negligence Affects Compensation for Special Damages in First Party Cases

Any significant financial payments you have incurred as a direct result of your injury can be regained through the special damages of your personal injury compensation. Nonetheless, your contributory negligence will affect a compensation settlement if, for instance, you were liable for 20 per cent of your accident or injuries. Due to your contributory negligence, you will receive only 80 per cent of the compensation amount to which you would have been otherwise entitled to – including special damages.

This is particularly noteworthy as special damages cover any lost income you suffered as a result of your injury. So if you had missed work for a significant amount of time, you would have to sustain yourself on 20 per cent less income than you normally would have received. Additionally, state benefits you received before your settlement will have to be repaid 100 per cent, which will mean that how contributory negligence affects compensation can be significant.

When Multiple Parties are Liable for your Injury

How contributory negligence happens can also occur in the situation where there are multiple third parties responsible for your injury, and the term is used in order to signify the percentage of liability for each party. This can happen in the case of a number of vehicles becoming involved in a road traffic accident. You may have been injured by the carelessness of the first driver, but the negligence of a second driver meant that they failed to stop on time, resulting in your further injury in a second crash.

How contributory negligence affects compensation amounts will not be an issue in the case of multiple third parties being responsible for your injuries. However, delays may occur in receiving three car crash compensation as the insurance companies of the negligent drivers must negotiate the proportion of liability that will be assigned to each driver. If your financial situation is of concern, and a potential delay could have an adverse effect on you, you are advised to consult with your solicitor regarding the possibility of interim payments until your claim is fully resolved.

Further Questions Regarding the Contributory Negligence Definition

If the contributory negligence definition applies to your personal injury claim, there is the likelihood that it will be more complicated and will take longer to resolve. During your initial discussion with your solicitor, you are advised to raise the possibility of contributory negligence if you believe it may be a factor in your claim.

If you require further clarification as to whether your personal injury compensation claim may be affected by the contributory negligence – or if you are wondering how contributory negligence affects compensation – you are advised to discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident with a personal injury solicitor at the earliest opportunity.