Contributory negligence is where the person or organisation we are claiming against in respect of your accident is to blame to some extent, but you may be found to have been partially to blame also.
Whilst there are circumstances where we can claim against another person or organisation for not ensuring our safety, we must also take some responsibility for our own safety.
Contributory negligence is usually expressed in terms of a percentage - e.g. the other party is 75% to blame and you are 25% to blame.
The effect of this on your claim is that you will still have won for the purpose of being awarded compensation and for the other party having to pay your legal fees. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage you are found to be to blame - in other words, if you were to be awarded, for example, £2000, but were found to be 25% to blame then you would only receive £2000 less 25% = £1500.
The percentage will vary according to the circumstances of an accident. A common example is in a road traffic accident, where a seatbelt has not been worn. The accident may have been another driver’s fault, but your injuries have been made worse by failure to wear a seatbelt.
It is possible for a court to make a finding that a claimant was 100% contributorily negligent, in which case no compensation or legal fees would be awarded, but this is rare.