What Is Contributory Negligence?

It is not always so easy to determine who is responsible for a car wreck. When talking about liability for accidents, contributory negligence or comparative negligence will apply. Washington, D.C. happens to be one of the few places in the nation to use contributory negligence. For this reason, it is important to know the differences between comparative negligence and contributory negligence.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence means if you had anything at all to do with causing your car accident, you cannot hold any other party responsible. So, if another driver is 95 percent at fault for a crash that cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills, property damage, and lost income, you cannot sue for damages. Even if you are just five percent to blame, you are entitled to nothing. Only a handful of states still apply contributory negligence because it is considered an antiquated concept.

Comparative Negligence

Under comparative negligence, each party is assigned a percentage of fault for an accident, and damages are awarded according to that percentage. For example, imagine a driver rushing to cross the highway before the light turns red. When the driver speeds up, he or she hits an oncoming car turning left.

The speeding driver may be 70 percent responsible for the speeding accident, the other driver may be 30 percent at fault for attempting to turn when it was not clear. Each party collects damages equal to the other party’s percentage of fault. So, if the speeding driver had $100,000 in damages, they can only collect $30,000 based on the other driver’s 30 percent liability.

What Contributory Negligence Means for Car Accident Victims in Washington, D.C.

The reality is, regardless of how you think the car accident occurred, if a jury finds you to be partly at fault, you stand to recover nothing for your losses. That is why it is incredibly important to document your accident in as much detail as possible.

Police reports, witness testimonies, and accident scene photos may be crucial to prove you had nothing to do with your car accident. A skilled car accident lawyer uses these important details to show you were in no way responsible for your crash, and you deserve compensation for your injuries. If you are injured in an accident, contact a trusted attorney with experience and success in handling contributory negligence claims.

Washington, DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Work Hard to Protect Car Accident Victims

Contributory negligence makes car accident cases more complex. Our accomplished Washington, DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King will work tirelessly to prove the facts of your case to achieve a positive outcome. For a free case consultation, contact us online or call us at 202-331-1963. Located in Washington, D.C., we serve clients throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.