An Overview of Contributory Negligence
Car Insurance

An Overview of Contributory Negligence

Whether you are dealing with medical professionals or insurance companies, you must have heard of contributory negligence. However, what does this term mean exactly, and how does it impact your actions. This article will help you understand the meaning of this concept and its associated legal ramifications.

Contributory negligence meaning

Essentially, contributory negligence refers to the plaintiff’s lack of reasonable care that ends up jeopardising their safety. In legal parlance, a plaintiff is a person who files a case against another party, the defendant. When contributory negligence is present in a case, it can bar or reduce the plaintiff’s chances of recovering damages from the defendant. This is so because the plaintiff’s actions increased the chances of the unfortunate incident occurring, shifting a percentage of fault away from the defendant. This is a common defence used by those accused of committing negligence.

Why is contributory negligence important?

Contributory negligence plays a key role in processing insurance claims, especially since it involves determining fault. For instance, you could be a policyholder filing an insurance claim to seek reimbursement for an event covered by your policy. In such an event, the insurance company must ensure that they are liable for the damages caused. Plus, insurance companies tend to limit their degree of fault to the smallest extent manageable.

To determine the degree of fault, insurers and courts review actions. This process will help decide how much the plaintiff can claim for damages under the insurance policy. As mentioned above, insurers try to limit plaintiff recovery, so it does not harm their profit margins.

If there is no evidence of contributory negligence after such an investigation is conducted, then the insurers cannot prevent the plaintiff from recovering the entire claim amount covered. However, if the injured party has contributed to the damages that occurred, then the plaintiff may receive reduced compensation or, in some cases, be barred from recovery.

What is the difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence?

Comparative negligence entails assigning fault between parties. Once the comparative fault is assigned, the damages can be awarded proportionately, as per the degree of negligence. Thus, while contributory negligence can completely bar the plaintiff from recovering damages, comparative negligence is aimed at reducing the claim if the plaintiff is partially at fault. However, though applicable in other nations, this distinction is not found within Indian law.

What is the difference between contributory negligence and composite negligence?

In India, you will find two kinds of negligence–namely, contributory negligence and composite negligence. According to law, if a plaintiff, due to his lack of reasonable care, contributed to the damage caused by the defendant, he has committed contributory negligence. Whereas, if the plaintiff suffers a personal injury due to two or more wrongdoers, it is a case of composite negligence.

Now that you know more about contributory negligence be aware and alert while filing car insurance claims.

Disclaimer: The above information is indicative in nature. For more details on the risk factor, terms and conditions, please refer to the Sales Brochure and Policy Wordings carefully before concluding a sale.

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