To understand how contributory negligence applies in injury claims, you must first understand how negligence can lead to personal injury. One of the best ways to explain negligence is in a motor vehicle accident scenario.
Say you are driving along a roadway obeying all traffic laws and minding your own business. Out of nowhere, an impaired or distracted motorist comes along and crashes into the back of your car. You suffer a serious head injury, which leads to missed work and requires ongoing medical treatment.
In this scenario, the other motorist is the cause of your personal injury. This means that you can file an injury claim against the motorist. If you succeed with your claim, you will receive valuable damages in the form of financial compensation.
With this compensation, you can replace lost wages from missing work and pay for the medical care you need. Now, let's take a look at contributory negligence, which does apply in some Pennsylvania personal injury cases.
In a similar scenario, you are driving responsibly, but unknown to you, your brake lights are not working. The impaired driver crashes into the back of your car, and you suffer a serious head injury leading to financial hardships. You may still pursue a claim to help cover your losses, but the court may hand down a contributory negligence ruling.
Such a ruling means that because of your faulty brake lights, you contributed to the collision as well as your injuries. You may still receive compensation, but the court might lower the amount you win based on your own role in the crash.
Because the other motorist and his or her legal counsel will look for any reason to avoid paying, you will benefit greatly from having your own legal representation. Together, you can build a case strong enough to mitigate the defense efforts the other driver puts forth.