Contributory Negligence in DC Dog Bite Cases

DC operates as a contributory negligence jurisdiction for personal injury claims, including, dog bite cases. There are a few exceptions which deal with pedestrians and bicyclists. Contributory negligence means that if a person is even one percent at fault, then they recover nothing. Therefore, it can be critical for a capable personal injury attorney to help you disprove contributory negligence in DC dog bite cases.

What is Contributory Negligence?

DC law defines contributory negligence as failing to act as a reasonable individual under the circumstances. Under most circumstances, this is a fact-based question. It very rarely could be a question of law, but negligence is defined as failing to act as a reasonably prudent person would have under similar circumstances. Therefore the particular facts have to define the standard and circumstances to determine whether or not the person acted reasonably.

What Must the Defendant Prove?

Because DC is a contributory negligence jurisdiction, if the defendant can prove, as a matter of law, that the plaintiff was even one percent liable, then the plaintiff cannot recover any money no matter how bad the injuries are and no matter how egregious the facts were.

Contributory negligence in DC dog bite cases is a bar to compensation in that if a person is even one percent responsible for the happening of an accident that, as a matter of law, they are not entitled to recover any money.

Understanding the Purpose of Contributory Negligence Standards

The underlying rationale for a contributory negligence standard is that if somebody contributes to their own injury they should not be able to recover for that injury. This is a common law standard and was just the way that things were done. As time has passed, most jurisdictions have adopted comparative or modified comparative standards. These standards allow people to still recover when they are partially responsible, just not the entire amount.

Impact on Negligence in Familial Dog Cases

Any effect of an existing relationship between the injured person and the owner of the dog will depend on the nature of that relationship. These will be based on the individual facts and circumstances. How the injured party reacts to the attack can also impact contributory negligence in DC dog bite cases.

They must be able to show that they acted reasonably under the circumstances. The reasonableness under the circumstances standard will obviously change if they knew the dog, the behaviors of the dog, and/or the owner of the dog. This is clearly different than if they did not have any relationship with the person who owns the dog.

How an Attorney Could Help in Contributory Negligence Cases

A lawyer who is familiar with dog bite cases will be able to help someone effectively respond to a request for a statement where contributory negligence is possible. Contributory negligence in DC dog bite cases can be easier to combat with the help of a well-versed attorney in personal injury law.