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How Contributory Negligence Pertains to Car Accidents

Contributory negligence is an equitable doctrine that is meant to ensure a fairer outcome when there is an accident. This theory will decide who bears what percentage of the blame for the accident and then apportion the total damages based on that calculation. Thus, even if you were doing something wrong at the time of the accident, you may still not be barred from a recovery depending on how much at fault you are.

Can You Still Win If You Were Speeding?

Even if you were speeding at the time of the accident, it is possible to receive compensation. For example, one driver could have been going too fast, but the other driver may have run a red light. In that instance, both of the drivers were negligent in some way and each one of them would stand a chance of receiving a settlement. The court would decide the percentage that each driver was negligent.

Are There Any Limitations on This Doctrine?

Some states allow for recovery under the contributory negligence doctrine no matter what. In Nevada, there is a limitation on this doctrine. If the claimant’s negligence exceeded that of the other negligent party, then the claimant may not recover at all. For example, if the claimant was 51 percent at fault for the accident, then there can be no recovery. In other words, the right to recovery is not unlimited if one driver was more at fault than the other.

How Can the Other Party’s Negligence Be Proved?

A personal injury attorney can handle your case and apply the facts to the law. The attorney can talk to witnesses and investigate the facts. At the same time, that attorney can establish the standard of care that each party was required to exercise while driving. Assuming that a party can show that the other party did not act as a reasonable driver would act under the circumstances, then that is evidence of their negligence.