Free Consultation

Submit this form to have your case
reviewed by our attorney.


Contributory Negligence

The contributory negligence claim allows someone to recover damages even if their own negligence caused some of the injuries. To recover damages, the negligence of the person seeking damages as the plaintiff in the lawsuit cannot be greater than the negligence of the defendant.

In all actions brought to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been guilty of contributory negligence does not automatically prevent a recovery by the plaintiff where such negligence was not greater than the negligence of the defendant.


Attorney for Contributory Negligence in Pennsylvania

The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices have decades of experience helping people all over Southeastern Pennsylvania who have suffered serious injuries due to the negligence of others. Attorneys take pride in their commitment to service and pursuing justice for all clients the firm represents.

Call Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190 today for a free evaluation of your case. Our attorneys will be able to investigate all the details of your case. We can help you understand your best legal options to pursue the damages you deserve for your injuries.


Information Center on Contributory Negligence in Pennsylvania


Elements of Contributory Negligence

The burden of establishing contributory negligence rests with the defendant. The defendant has the burden of proving two things:

  • (1) The plaintiff was negligent
  • (2) The plaintiff’s negligence was the cause of their injury or harm

Contributory negligence can still be a defense for claims of professional negligence involving monetary loss.

If a plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence, then the defendant is not liable. A plaintiff's recovery will not be affected by their negligent conduct unless that conduct played a substantial part in causing the injury for which damages are sought. Such negligence would need to be greater than the negligence of the defendant to not receive recovery.


Back to top

Contributory Negligence Defense Claims

Someone can claim damages under contributory negligence for:

  • Monetary Loss claims
  • Legal malpractice claims
  • Negligent termite inspections claims
  • Fraudulent disclosures by realtors claims
  • Negligent misrepresentation claims  
  • Professional negligence claims
  • Liability claims
  • Accounting malpractice claims

Back to top

Contributory Negligence vs. Comparative Negligence

Contributory negligence is acted on the part of the plaintiff no matter how small their responsibility in the injury is. In comparative negligence, the plaintiff’s responsibility in the injury only matters when determining the amount of damages each party owes.

The Comparative Negligence Act does not cancel contributory negligence as a complete defense in all cases. Comparative negligence only applies when the damages claimed include personal injury, death, or damage to property.

The Comparative Negligence Act does not apply to damage claims for to intangible property or monetary loss. Contributory negligence does allow damages for monetary loss. The Comparative Negligence Act is not applicable in cases in which realtors fraudulently failed to disclose facts (Keller v. Re/Max Centre Realty, 719 A.2d 369).

If you are injured in an accident, you can recover monetary damages from a defendant as long as you are found to be no more than 50% liable for damages. If a plaintiff is found to be 50% (or less) liable, each defendant shall be liable for their proportionate total dollar amount awarded as damages.

Many years ago the contributory law was very popular but recently courts have transitioned to using comparative negligence solely.


Back to top

Additional Resources

§ 7102. Comparative negligence - Visit the website of the Pennsylvania General Assembly to find the statute on comparative negligence including the general rule, recovery against joint defendants, apportionment of responsibility among certain nonparties, savings provisions, and definitions.


Back to top

Contributory Negligence Attorney in Chester County, PA

If you have been injured in West Chester, Radnor, Plymouth Square, Malvern, Philadelphia, or in Chester County, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney at Ciccarelli Law Offices as soon as possible.

Claims for damages can get confusing quick and it is helpful to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side that can help you figure out a plan of action.

Contact Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 719-3190 today for a free consultation so that they can start working on your personal injury case immediately.

This page was last updated on January 3, 2016.