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What Is Contributory Negligence And How Does It Impact Your Case

What Is Contributory Negligence and How Does It Impact Your Case?

What is Contributory Negligence?

Contributory negligence refers to the plaintiff’s own negligence of their safety that contributed to the injury or damage caused. In other words, finding reasoning to believe the plaintiff is at partial fault for the accident.


  • A pedestrian was not paying attention and negligently crossed the road before looking for oncoming cars. A driver was behaving negligently and distracted using his phone while driving, and didn’t see the pedestrian crossing the street. In this situation, both individuals were acting negligently and are at fault.
  • A car accident occurred between a driver that was speeding and another driver that was driving drunk. Again, both individuals are at fault and put their own safety into question.

Contributory Negligence in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of five jurisdictions that still practices pure contributory negligence in personal injury law. Other states and jurisdictions that practice pure contributory negligence include Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

In the state of North Carolina, if you are in an accident and deemed 1% at fault for the accident, you are responsible for your own damages from the accident. It allows both parties in the accident to be at fault and liable.

If you have been involved in an accident in North Carolina and the at-fault driver’s insurance company has decided to deny your claim, this is most likely due to the fact they are trying to prove that you were also negligent in the accident as well. It is extremely important to consult with a North Carolina attorney to discuss your legal options once the claim has been denied.

How Does It Impact Your Case?

Contributory negligence can have a huge impact on your case in the state of North Carolina. Due to this law, if the defendant is able to prove that you are in any way partly responsible and at fault for the accident, you could risk losing compensation for the accident. These cases are complicated and requires a lot of contact with insurance companies, which can be extremely time-consuming. In this case, it is important to use an attorney with experience in personal injury to work with you on a contributory negligence defense.

Contact Us

If you or someone you know have suffered a personal injury because of someone else’s reckless, or negligent behavior, it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney. At Schehr Law PLLC, we have years of experience dealing with insurance companies. We offer free consultations for all personal injury cases. To learn more about our success and personal injury practice areas, click here.