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Personal injury law has undergone various changes over many centuries. One change has related to the concept of contributory negligence.

Definition of Contributory Negligence

According to traditional personal injury law, the victim of an accident cannot recover any damages if he or she played any part in creation of that same accident. This concept was meant to cover the situation where the claimant/victim had to bear some level of fault, with respect to causing the accident.

How the legal system has changed the way that it deals with accident victims, specifically those that played some part in creating the injury-causing accident?

Today comparative negligence has replaced contributory negligence. Pure comparative negligence states that the victim’s recovery should decrease according to the percentage of fault that has fallen on the same victim.

Most courts use a modified version of pure comparative negligence. In that modified version, the victim cannot recover any portion of the awarded money, if that same victim has been found responsible for more than 50% of the accident.

What aspect of personal injury law has not changed over the centuries?

The lawyer for a defendant cannot always use contributory or comparative negligence, when seeking the court’s forgiveness of the defendant’s behavior. There is a time when the court would not honor that proposed excuse.

What sort of situation would permit creation of such a time? That would be a situation in which the defendant had chosen to act intentionally, If the defendant’s intentional actions had hurt the victim/claimant, then the injury lawyer in Halifax of the defendant would not be allowed to use contributory or comparative negligence as a defense.

In other words, someone that was assaulted or attacked has the legal right to put up a defense, regardless of how the defensive action might add to the victim’s injuries. The attacker would not have the right to say that some of the harm done to the victim was self-inflicted, and that, therefore, the attacker/defendant should not get charged for all of the victim’s injuries.

Can you picture how silly it would sound for a judge to say to a victim this: We will cover 80% of those injuries, but not the other 20%. We have determined that you created that 20% when you tried to defend yourself.

If would not seem like the judge was being fair to the victim, if that represented the nature of the judge’s comments. The concept of fairness does not change. For that reason, victims have never been charged with contributory or comparative negligence, when they have tried to defend themselves. It might be claimed that victims that managed to beat their attacker should not get any compensation. Yet such victims would hurt only the defendant.