In negligence cases, the rule of “contributory negligence” denies a plaintiff recovery if he is negligent and that fact contributes to his injuries.


The term “contributory negligence” refers to the act or omission amounting to want of ordinary care on part of the plaintiff, which, concurring with defendant’s negligence, is the proximate cause of the injury, thereby preventing plaintiff from recovering any damages from the defendant.

“Any want of ordinary care on the part of the person injured, (or on the part of another whose negligence is imputable to him,) which combined and concurrent with the defendant’s negligence, and contributed to the injury as a proximate cause thereof, and as an element without which the injury would not have occurred.” Railroad Co. v. Young, 153 Ind. 163.

“The negligent act of plaintiff which, concurrent and cooperating with negligent act of defendant, becomes real, efficient, and proximate cause of injury, or cause without which the injury would not have occurred.” Elder v. Plaza Ry., 194 N.C. 617.

Contributory negligence doctrine has now been replaced in most jurisdictions with the doctrine of comparative fault.

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