Because a show of negligence means being careless or neglectful, it might seem strange to consider the possible negligence of the victim. Still, a victim’s unwillingness to be careful about those acts that might hurt him or her does suggest a tendency to be negligent. How does the law deal with evidence that a plaintiff/ victim has exhibited such a tendency?
The elements of negligence:
• A duty of care towards others or towards oneself;
• A breaching of that duty by commission of a certain act or by the failure to perform a certain act.
• Allowing the breach from duty to cause some harm to befall another individual;
• Proof that the plaintiff, the person harmed has suffered real damages.
Apportionment of damages
A court looks at what percent of the damages were caused by a defendant’s negligent acts and what percent were caused by the plaintiff’s careless and neglectful acts. If the negligence shown by the plaintiff was less than that shown by the defendant, then it will order an apportionment of damages.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Kitchener knows that once the damages have been apportioned, then the court can calculate exactly how much of the award money should go to the plaintiff. For instance, if the defendant’s negligence caused 75% of the damages, then the plaintiff should expect to receive only 75% of the award money. In other words, the greater the level of the defendant’s negligent behavior, the greater the percent of the award money that the court will agree to give to the plaintiff.
Note that the plaintiff does not have to make any cash payment, despite having contributed to creation of a given accident. Instead, the law has the ability to deduct a given percent of the award that the plaintiff might have won, if he or she had been more careful, and more aware of the neglectful nature of the actions that helped to cause the accident.
Evaluating the fairness of the present-day system, with respect to contributory negligence
The present-day system is much fairer than the one used in the past. At one time, no plaintiff could expect to receive any award money if he or she was shown to have contributed in any way to creation of the accident that caused the plaintiff’s injury. That rule held, regardless of the extent to which the plaintiff appeared to have contributed to that particular accident.
In other words, even someone that had contributed to only 1% of the factors that triggered an injury-causing incident could not get compensated for any resulting damages. Eventually, the experts on the law recognized the unfair nature of that earlier approach. Hence, today’s plaintiffs have a better chance at obtaining at least some amount of money as compensation for any damages.