Contributory negligence in common law jurisdictions is generally a defense to a claim based on negligence. This principle is relevant to the determination of liability and is applicable when Plaintiffs have, through their own negligence contributed to the harm they suffer. Consider, for example, a person who walks across the street at night wearing dark clothing and gets hit by a motor vehicle. The driver is liable for not keeping a proper lookout, but the pedestrian may also be liable. For instance, he or she may have contributed to the accident by wearing dark clothing and for not using the crosswalk to cross the street.

Even though the pedestrian may have suffered damages due to another person’s negligence, his or her claim for damages may be reduced or eliminated if the court deems that he or she failed to take reasonable care for his or her own safety and his or her own negligence has contributed to that loss.

Furthermore, if a court cannot determine liability between parties the Negligence Act, R.S.O. 1990 states that they are both 50% liable. The Act states that:

“If it is not practicable to determine the respective degree of fault or
negligence as between any parties to an action, such parties shall be
deemed to be equally at fault or negligent.”

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Douglas Strelshik Law.