Contributory Negligence in Dog Bite Cases

Contributory negligence plays a very important role in determining damages in a DC dog bite injury case. This is a legal defense available to an individual, where the defense is allowed to present evidence to prove that the plaintiff caused or contributed to their injuries. To effectively craft a case examining the exact role that contributory negligence played in your catastrophic dog bite case, it is important that you contact an experienced DC dog bite attorney immediately.

Contributory vs. Comparative Negligence

In the District of Columbia as in its neighboring states, Maryland and Virginia, follow contributory negligence. The majority of the country follows comparative negligence.

Contributory negligence is a legal defense that allows the finder of fact to determine if the injured person caused or contributed to their injuries. If the judge or jury finds that the injured person caused or contributed to their injuries, as a matter of law the injured person cannot recover.

Conversely, comparative negligence allows the judge or jury to evaluate the percentage of fault by either party and attribute a percentage to both parties. That percentage is then correlated to the amount of damages available to the injured person.

Effect of Negligence on a Case

Contributory negligence can affect a dog bite case because it is a legal bar to recovery  no matter the nature and extent of the injuries. Therefore, it is a very serious consideration in all cases because no matter how badly the person is injured, contributory negligence results in zero compensation.

If a person is found to be even one percent liable for their injuries, they cannot recover as a matter of law.

Determining Contributory Negligence

In essentially all dog bite cases, the actions of the injured person are evaluated leading up to the time the incident occurred to determine if they contributed to their injuries. In a dog bite case, the evidence necessary to establish the affirmative defense of contributory negligence takes on many different forms.

If the injured is a minor or child, the actions of the child are evaluated to see if there was any taunting, provocation, or if the action was simply unprovoked. When taunting and provocation of the dog occurred and the injured person is older, their actions are evaluated compared to that of the dog to determine if the injured person was contributorily negligent.

Benefits of a Lawyer

A qualified attorney can evaluate a claim and determine whether the defense of contributory negligence is likely to be made. Once that information is obtained, the attorney can guide the injured person through the claim process to maximize the recovery as best as possible.

As stated, contributory negligence completely prohibits the injured person from recovery. Therefore, this is an issue that must be seriously considered and evaluated throughout the claim process. Contributory negligence in catastrophic dog bite cases can often be difficult and complex to prove, making the assistance and investigation by a qualified attorney invaluable.