What is Contributory Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?

//What is Contributory Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?

What is Contributory Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?

It is often the case in personal injury claims for compensation that a defendant will agree that they were to blame for an accident that resulted in an injury to a person. However, while accepting the blame the defendant’s lawyer might argue that the injured person contributed to the accident or injury. The injured person’s contribution might be by acting in a certain way or by some carelessness on their part, or by some omission, which made their injury or injuries worse. The legal term for this is ‘contributory negligence’ and it means if you’re injured because someone else was negligent, the defence might claim that you did something or failed to do something which contributed to the way your injuries occurred.

The Kinds of Contributory Negligence

In general, there are two kinds of contributory negligence:

  • Matters concerned with the circumstances of the accident.
  • Matters concerned with the extent of the personal injury sustained by the claimant or plaintiff and the nature of these injuries.

The burden of proof is on the party alleging the contributory negligence. This means that for a court to make a finding against the injured person (plaintiff) of contributory negligence, the defendant is the one who has to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that the claimant contributed to the personal injury sustained.


At PK Simpson, we represent anyone who has a viable personal injury compensation claim, regardless of how large or small, arising from injury or illness suffered as a result of:

Motor Vehicle Accidents – Workplace Accidents – Unable to work due to injury or illness – Public Place Accidents – Private Place Accidents – Whole Injury Damages Claims (Common Law Claims) – Medical Negligence


Examples of Contributory Negligence

Say a cyclist who failed to wear a helmet (which is law in NSW), was hit by a car, rolled onto the bonnet and fell to the ground sustaining head injuries. A defendant’s lawyer in the case might be instructed to claim the injured person had contributed to their personal injury. A pedestrian crossing a road in a negligent manner – by racing against a red ‘don’t walk’ sign e.g. – is hit by a driver who was on their mobile phone and distracted. The pedestrian could be found to have contributed to the accident and the personal injury and is likely to have any damages reduced in a court. Another example might be where a person ignores warnings or doesn’t take reasonable measures to stay safe, such as diving into a body of water without making sure it is deep enough.


At PK Simpson, our lawyers have the necessary skills and experience to manage any compensation matter.

We also win over 99 percent of cases.


Negligence in NSW

In NSW anyone suffering a personal injury as a result of someone else’s negligence may seek the advice of a lawyer and claim compensation (or damages) in a court of law.  The amount of compensation they may be paid is dependent on some very specific factors which are:

  • How much financial loss the injured person has suffered;
  • The extent of any personal injury sustained by the claimant;
  • What are the continuing effects of the personal injury or loss on the claimant’s ability in the future to earn an income;
  • To what extent was damage caused to any personal property (and what kind of personal property was damaged – whether it was able to be replaced or if it was unique).

The claimant also has to have taken reasonable precautions to avoid the harm and the degree of harm or damage. If the claimant is found to have contributed to the personal injury, harm or damage, the amount of compensation may be reduced. A court will decide on the matter of contributory negligence which will depend on the facts of the personal injury case.


We are a personal injury firm of lawyers who charge on a No Win – No Fee basis – but unlike many competing law firms, we do not simply pick and choose the cases that we are likely to win.


Note: Claims for compensation in NSW must be made within three years of the date of the accident or negligence that caused the personal injury. This time limit is bound by the  Limitation Act 1969.  Also, an injured person can’t sue for negligence in NSW until all of the various elements have been satisfied.

If you (or someone you know) has suffered a personal injury or illness and believe you are entitled to claim compensation, contact PK Simpson lawyers on 1300 757 467 or book an appointment to come and see us to have a chat.



By | 2018-12-21T09:48:07+00:00 December 21st, 2018|PK Simpson Blog|Comments Off on What is Contributory Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?

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