Contributory Negligence

Legal Definition and Related Resources of Contributory Negligence

Meaning of Contributory Negligence

negligence by an injured plaintiff which contributes with some other negligence to cause the injury complained of. An act or omission on the part of the plaintiff, amounting to a want of ordinary care, as concurring or co-operating with the negligent act of the defendant as a proximate cause of the injury. The standard of care which the plaintiff is required to exercise is that of a reasonable man concerned for his own protection and safety under like circumstances. In order to constitute contributory negligence, the fault on the part of the plaintiff should be connected with the injury complained, so that it can be reasonably inferred that the plaintiffs negligence was one of the proximate causes for the injury. See Li v Yellow Cab Co. of California, 119 Cal. Rptr. 858, 532 P.2d 1226, 78 A.L.R.3d393.

Contributory Negligence Alternative Definition

Failure of one injured by the negligence of another to use ordinary care, which failure is a concurrent cause with that of such other person in producing the injury.

Related Entries of Contributory Negligence in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Contributory Negligence in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Contributory Negligence in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Contributory Negligence in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Contributory Negligence in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Assumption Of Risk, Last Chance, Last Clear Chance, Negligence.

Contributory Negligence Legal Definition

The failure to exercise care by a plaintiff, which contributed to the plaintiff’s injury.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Contributory Negligence in the Dictionary Contributory Negligence in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Contributory Negligence
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Contributory Negligence in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Contributory Negligence is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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Contributory negligence in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of contributory negligence.

Contributory Negligence in Maritime Law

Note: There is more information on maritime/admiralty law here.

The following is a definition of Contributory Negligence, produced by Tetley, in the context of admiralty law: The former method of apportionment of damages under English common law, which prohibited a plaintiff from recovering any damages from a defendant in tort if the plaintiff’s own fault or negligence had contributed to his own loss or damage in even the slightest degree. In traditional English admiralty law, the common law “contributory negligence bar” to recovery by negligent plaintiffs did not apply to ship collisions, but rather damages in cases where both vessels were to blame for the collision were apportioned according to the divided damages (see this maritime law term in this legal dictionary) rule, which was later replaced by proportionate fault (see this maritime law term in this legal dictionary) in the United Kingdom, Canada and other British Commonwealth jurisdictions under national statutes giving effect to the Collision Convention 1910 (see this maritime law term in this legal dictionary). Contributory negligence was replaced by proportionate fault in English common law by the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act, 1945, 8 & 9 Geo. 6, c. 28, although several Canadian common law provinces had enacted such legislation some twenty years earlier. In Canadian maritime law, the contributory negligence bar was replaced by proportionate fault for maritime torts other than ship collisions by the Supreme Cou
rt of Canada’s decision in Bow Valley Husky (Bermuda) Ltd. v. Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd. [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1210, (1997) 153 D.L.R.(4th) 385. See Tetley, Int’l C. of L., 1994 at pp. 476-477, 479-481, 488; Tetley, M.L.C., 2 Ed., 1998 at pp. 49-50, 86, 93, 159 and 1190; Tetley, Int’l. M. & A. L., 2003 at pp. 219-222, 235.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Policeman
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Contributory Negligence

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Contributory Negligence : A person’s carelessness for his own safety or interests, which contributes materially to damage suffered by him as a result partly of his own fault and partly of the fault of another person or persons. Thus careless driving, knowingly travelling with a drunken driver, and failure to wear a seat belt are common forms of contributory negligence in highway accidents. The effect of contributory negligence is to reduce the claimant’s damages by an amount that the court thinks just and equitable. The defence is most common in actions for negligence, but can be pleaded in some other torts, e.g. *nuisance, *Rylands v Fletcher, *breach of statutory duty, or under the Animals Act 1971 (See classification of animals). Contributory negligence may also be a defence to some actions for breach of contract. It is not a defence to conversion or intentional trespass to goods.

Contributory Negligence in Admiralty Law

For information on contributory negligence in this context, see the entry on contributory negligence in the maritime law encyclopedia.



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