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When consulting with a potential client, a personal injury lawyer in Halifax always tries to learn of any way that the possible client might have committed an act that could qualify as contributory negligence.

What is contributory negligence?

That is a legal term that refers to a situation in which the victim of an accident has contributed to the creation of his or her injury.

How does a judge handle a personal injury case, if the injured victim has carried out an act of contributory negligence?

The court must determine what percent of the victim’s injuries were caused by the victim’s/plaintiff’s actions, or failure to act. Once that has been determined, the judge declares that the same percentage must be taken out of the awarded compensation, which was going to be given to the injured victim/plaintiff.

What are some examples of contributory negligence in Nova Scotia?

• A driver’s failure to wear a seat belt.
• A motorcycle rider’s failure to wear a helmet.
• A pedestrian’s decision to cross at an intersection that was not a designated crossing.
• A pedestrian takes a step onto the road while testing.
• A driver makes a left-hand turn and gets hit by a speeding automobile.
• A parent fails to lock up a gun, and a young child gets hold of it.

A hostess keeps offering alcoholic beverages to a youthful guest, one that is less than 21 years of age. That same youth is intoxicated when he leaves the hostess’ party. Later, he gets into an accident.

After visiting a petting zoo with a small child, a parent takes that same child to a farm, one where donkeys are hanging their heads over a fence. The child walks up to a donkey and tries to pet it; the donkey takes the child’s finger between its teeth.

The passenger in a car that was involved in a car accident does not have any apparent injury. Consequently, she decides to postpone her visit to a doctor’s office. She ignores her headache, which is really a sign that the female accident victim has sustained a concussion.

The message in that last example:

Nova Scotia does not show lenience towards an accident victim that has been charged with contributory negligence. That includes any victims that failed to seek prompt medical help, after becoming involved in a collision.The court looks closely at the degree to which the victim’s injury might have been aggravated by the delayed visit to a medical facility. It does not hesitate to equate that delay with some percent of the victim’s possible compensation. After making that calculation, the court then refuses to hand to the plaintiff/victim the same percent of the awarded compensation.