Dictionary of Law

contributory negligence :: legal definition

Contributory negligence - n. a doctrine of common law that if a person was injured in part due to his/her own negligence (his/her negligence "contributed" to the accident), the injured party would not be entitled to collect any damages (money) from another party who supposedly caused the accident. Under this rule, a badly injured person who was only slightly negligent could not win in court against a very negligent defendant. If Joe Tosspot was driving drunk and speeding and Angela Comfort was going 25 m.p.h. but six inches over the center-line, most likely Angela would be precluded from any recovery (receiving any money for injuries or damages) from a car crash. The possible unfair results have led some juries to ignore the rule and, in the past few decades, most states have adopted a comparative negligence test in which the relative percentages of negligence by each person are used to determine damage recovery (how much money would be paid to the injured person).

See also: comparative negligence negligence and Related Law Terms ↓

Related Law Terms

abuse of discretion :: n. a polite way of saying a trial judge has made s ... partner's realistic ability to pay.
adjuster :: n. an employee (usually a non-lawyer) of an insura ... e company in approving settlements.
admission against interest :: n. an admission of the truth of a fact by any pers ... earsay. See also: admission hearsay
adverse party :: n. the opposite side in a lawsuit. Sometimes when ... the court rules the will was legal.
anticipatory breach :: n. when a party to a contract repudiates (reneges ... perform. See also: breach contract
appeal :: 1) v. to ask a higher court to reverse the decisio ... ng, as in "he has filed an appeal."
arguendo :: prep. Latin meaning "for the sake of argument," us ... rs most commonly in appeals briefs.
arrest :: v. 1) to take or hold a suspected criminal with le ... anda warning probable cause warrant
attachment :: n. the seizing of money or property prior to getti ... bond. See also: writ of attachment
care :: n. in law, to be attentive, prudent and vigilant. ... she is involved. See also: careless
civil :: adj. 1) that part of the law that encompasses busi ... also: civil liberties civil rights
claim :: 1) v. to make a demand for money, for property, or ... the government, it is lawsuit time.
claim in bankruptcy :: n. the written claim filed by persons or businesse ... : bankruptcy bankruptcy proceedings
clean hands doctrine :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
comparative negligence :: n. a rule of law applied in accident cases to dete ... utory negligence damages negligence
conflict of interest :: n. a situation in which a person has a duty to mor ... a position adverse to the customer.
conservatee :: n. a person whom a court has determined because of ... and the like. See also: conservator
consign :: v. 1) to deliver goods to a merchant to sell on be ... or by order of a bankruptcy judge.
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
creditor's claim :: n. a claim required to be filed in writing, in a p ... e also: claim in bankruptcy probate
cross-complaint :: n. after a complaint has been filed against a defe ... g prayer service of process summons
damages :: n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the pers ... liquidated damages special damages
descent :: n. the rules of inheritance established by law in ... on inheritance intestate succession
direct and proximate cause :: n. the immediate reason damage was caused by an ac ... so: cause complaint proximate cause
disfigure :: v. to cause permanent change in a person's body, p ... . See also: damages general damages
domicile :: n. the place where a person has his/her permanent ... where its headquarters is located.
duty of care :: n. a requirement that a person act toward others a ... e also: negligence standard of care
employee :: n. a person who is hired for a wage, salary, fee o ... ondeat superior scope of employment
estoppel :: n. a bar or impediment (obstruction) which preclud ... pel equitable estoppel estop laches
ex parte :: (ex par-tay, but popularly, ex party) adj. Latin m ... and place of any ex parte hearing.
executive clemency :: n. the power of a President in federal criminal ca ... ernor. See also: commutation pardon
expert witness :: n. a person who is a specialist in a subject, ofte ... sitions. See also: expert testimony
fictitious defendants :: n. when a party suing (plaintiff) is not sure if h ... are not permitted in federal cases.
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
garnish :: v. to obtain a court order directing a party holdi ... ed. See also: garnishee garnishment
Good Samaritan rule :: n. from a Biblical story, if a volunteer comes to ... a lawsuit for millions of dollars.
gross negligence :: n. carelessness which is in reckless disregard for ... damages negligence punitive damages
guarantee :: 1) v. to pledge or agree to be responsible for ano ... as some defect. See also: guarantor
guardian :: n. a person who has been appointed by a judge to t ... torship. See also: conservator ward
harmless error :: n. an error by a judge in the conduct of a trial w ... ar to be harmless." See also: error
hearsay rule :: n. the basic rule that testimony or documents whic ... interest dying declaration hearsay
hit and run :: n. the crime of a driver of a vehicle who is invol ... , and then walks back to the scene.
impleader :: n. a procedural device before trial in which a par ... than having two suits in a series.
impute :: v. 1) to attach to a person responsibility (and th ... also. See also: vicarious liability
incompetent :: adj. 1) referring to a person who is not able to m ... n incompetency incompetent evidence
indenture :: n. a type of real property deed in which two parti ... bind a person to work for another.
informed consent :: n. agreement to do something or to allow something ... . See also: consent Miranda warning
injunction :: n. a writ (order) issued by a court ordering someo ... t. See also: injunctive relief writ
injury :: n. any harm done to a person by the acts or omissi ... nction injunctive relief negligence
insanity :: n. mental illness of such a severe nature that a p ... M'Naughten rule temporary insanity
interest :: n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to prope ... nal property real property standing
intervening cause :: n. an event which occurs between the original impr ... cause negligence superseding cause
joint and several :: adj. referring to a debt or a judgment for neglige ... ution contributory negligence joint
joint tortfeasors :: n. two or more persons whose negligence in a singl ... : comparative negligence negligence
last clear chance :: n. a rule of law in determining responsibility for ... contributory negligence negligence
liability :: n. one of the most significant words in the field ... bility joint tortfeasors negligence
libel :: 1) n. to publish in print (including pictures), wr ... libel per se public figure slander
limited liability :: n. the maximum amount a person participating in a ... ted damages partnership shareholder
liquidated damages :: n. an amount of money agreed upon by both parties ... airness. See also: contract damages
loss of consortium :: n. the inability of one's spouse to have normal ma ... ation. See also: consortium damages
malpractice :: n. An act or continuing conduct of a professional ... eed. See also: errors and omissions
Miranda warning :: n. the requirement, also called the Miranda rule, ... me such a suspect? See also: rights
mitigation of damages :: n. the requirement that someone injured by another ... he lease) to mitigate his/her loss.
negligence :: n. failure to exercise the care toward others whic ... gence per se res ipsa loquitur tort
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
notice :: n. 1) information, usually in writing in all legal ... Thirty-day notice three-day notice
nuisance :: n. the unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful u ... evening). See also: public nuisance
own recognizance :: (O.R.) n. the basis for a judge allowing a person ... n recognizance. See also: bail O.R.
paid into court :: adj. referring to money deposited with the clerk o ... differences. See also: interpleader
party :: n. 1) one of the participants in a lawsuit or othe ... y real party in interest respondent
presumption :: n. a rule of law which permits a court to assume a ... resumption at all, but a certainty.
promissory note :: n. a written promise by a person (variously called ... lso: interest obligee obligor usury
property damage :: n. injury to real or personal property through ano ... l value. See also: damages property
proximate cause :: n. a happening which results in an event, particul ... also: intervening cause negligence
ransom :: 1) n. money paid to a kidnapper in demand for the ... ive. See also: abduction kidnapping
real party in interest :: n. the person or entity who will benefit from a la ... st is the beneficiary of the trust.
reasonable care :: n. the degree of caution and concern for the safet ... . See also: duty of care negligence
receiver :: n. 1) a neutral person (often a professional trust ... owing they were obtained illegally.
rescue doctrine :: n. the rule of law that if a rescuer of a person h ... to the car grill. See also: damages
sanction :: n. 1) a financial penalty imposed by a judge on a ... ction." See also: contempt of court
satisfaction of judgment :: n. a document signed by a judgment creditor (the p ... ord. See also: abstract of judgment
slander :: n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or ... . See also: defamation fair comment
specific performance :: n. the right of a party to a contract to demand th ... artwork. See also: contract prayer
standard of care :: n. the watchfulness, attention, caution and pruden ... of care foreseeable risk negligence
state of domicile :: n. the state in which a person has his/her permane ... orated. See also: domicile resident
statute of limitations :: n. a law which sets the maximum period which one c ... ies. See also: demurrer laches toll
strict liability :: n. automatic responsibility (without having to pro ... bility negligence res ipsa loquitur
subpena duces tecum :: : (suh-pea-nah dooh-chess-take-uhm or dooh-kess-ta ... ng a court order. See also: witness
subrogation :: n. assuming the legal rights of a person for whom ... also: negligence subrogee subrogor
suffering :: n. the pain, hurt, inconvenience, embarrassment an ... njury negligence pain and suffering
tort :: n. from French for "wrong," a civil wrong or wrong ... nce slander trespass wrongful death
transferred intent :: n. in both criminal and tort (civil wrong) law, wh ... hit upon Truehart. See also: intent
unconscionable :: adj. referring to a contract or bargain which is s ... ee also: adhesion contract contract
unjust enrichment :: n. a benefit by chance, mistake or another's misfo ... perty. See also: constructive trust
vicarious liability :: n. sometimes called "imputed liability," attachmen ... r or policeman. See also: liability
Workers' Compensation Acts :: n. state statutes which establish liability of emp ... rs' compensation insurance company.
wrongful death :: n. the death of a human being as the result of a w ... ual beneficiaries (family members).
wrongful termination :: n. a right of an employee to sue his/her employer ... ing an employee's grounds for suit.

Popular Law Searches

legal definition ministerial act :: n. an act, particularly of a governmental employee ... exercising any individual judgment.
chancery legal definition :: n. a court that can order acts performed. Today ch ... ts in most states. See also: equity
testamentary disposition legal definition :: n. how the terms of a will divide the testator's ( ... named beneficiaries. See also: will
contract of sufferance :: n. a "hold-over" tenancy after a lease has expired ... y tenancy at will unlawful detainer
forthwith legal definition :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
forthwith definition legal :: adv. a term found in contracts, court orders and s ... mediacy, with no excuses for delay.
what is to wit in a legal contract :: prep. that is to say. Example: "the passengers in ... tty Bumgartner and Sherry Younger."
mirror wills legal definition :: n. the wills of a husband and wife which are ident ... d each names the other as executor.
clean hands doctrine latin :: n. a rule of law that a person coming to court wit ... ices. See also: affirmative defense
sine qua non only relates to contract law :: (see-nay kwah nahn) prep. Latin for "without which ... qua non of the injury to Playmate.

Other Law Terms - C

C.I.F. :: n. the total of cost, insurance and freight charge ... aid on goods purchased and shipped.
calendar :: 1) n. the list of cases to be called for trial bef ... clerk of the court calendars cases.
calendar call :: n. the hearing at which a case is set for trial. ... g at which a case is set for trial.
call :: n. the demand by a corporation that a stockholder ... assessment on shares already owned.
calumny :: n. the intentional and generally vicious false acc ... 's reputation. See also: defamation
cancel :: v. to cross out, annul, destroy, void and/or resci ... g, so that it cannot be used again.
cancellation :: cancel ... cancel
caning :: n. a punishment for crimes employed in certain Asi ... last century in the United States.
canon law :: n. laws and regulations over ecclesiastical (churc ... nduct with no religious connection.
cap :: n. slang for maximum, as the most interest that ca ... "adjustable rate" promissory note.
capital :: 1) n. from Latin for caput, meaning "head," the ba ... count capital assets stock in trade
capital account :: n. the record which lists all basic assets of a bu ... or the alleged value of good will.
capital assets :: n. equipment, property, and funds owned by a busin ... . See also: capital capital account
capital expenditure :: n. payment by a business for basic assets such as ... y intended to improve productivity.
capital gains :: n. the difference between the sales price and the ... so: basis delayed exchange exchange
capital investment :: capital expenditure ... capital expenditure
capital offense :: n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the ... . See also: bail capital punishment
capital punishment :: n. execution (death) for a capital offense. The U. ... or death. See also: capital offense
capital stock :: n. the original amount paid by investors into a co ... price. See also: corporation stock
capitalization :: n. 1) the act of counting anticipated earnings and ... for conversion into capital assets.