Contributory negligence is legal terminology that sounds more complicated than it actually is. If you are currently involved in a personal injury case, this phrase will more than likely come up a few times, and it is an important one to learn about prior to going to court. Ottawa injury lawyers want you to know more about contributory negligence and how it can affect the outcome of any court case involving personal injury.
What Does It Mean?
Basically, contributory negligence refers to the ways in which you, the plaintiff, have contributed to your injuries by neglecting to follow any warning signs put up to prevent injury. For example, if you slipped and hurt yourself at a retail store because of a recently mopped floor, and the company had put a sign warning about the wet floor in a very noticeable part of the store, the judge presiding over the case would have to take the warning sign into consideration. If the sign was clearly noticeable, this would affect your case and while you may still receive some compensation for your injuries, it would not be as much as you would if there was no proof of contributory negligence.
It’s Not Always so Straightforward
Even if you were injured on company property and there doesn’t seem to be any proof of contributory negligence, it does not mean the company cannot make a case for it. There are many forms of contributory negligence, and your Ottawa injury lawyers want you to be prepared for all scenarios.
For example, a man slipped and fell and injured himself badly while walking into a building out of the rain. Even though the company had put up wet floor signs and had laid mats down, the man still expected compensation for his injuries. Due to promises made by lawyers on TV commercials these days, more and more people do not even think their own negligence will matter in personal injury cases, but judges try their best to rule fairly in these cases to make sure no one gets taken advantage of. In this case, the company was able to prove that the man had not wiped his feet after entering the building and the because they had placed yellow, wet floor signs and had provided floor mats, the judge ruled equal liability.
How to Avoid Contributory Negligence
There are thousands of these types of cases, and Ottawa Injury Lawyers want to ensure you do not end up a plaintiff in a case where contributory negligence is used to decrease the amount to compensation you receive for your injuries. Most of these cases do not make it to court right away, and often a couple of years have gone by before the court date. By the time a year or two has passed, people forget the important details of their injury and how it happened. One of the most crucial things to as soon as possible is write down a very detailed account of what happened before, during, and after your injury, and give it to your lawyer right away. This one thing could make a huge difference in your case.