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Understanding Ohio Contributory Negligence

If you are involved in a negligence-related accident, you can recover compensation for your damages and injuries. However, you will have to prove that the liable party owed you a duty of care, breached or failed in the duty, and caused your injuries or damages because of that breach.

In some cases, the plaintiff (the filing party) may have also breached their duty of care or acted in a reckless or negligent manner; can they still recover damages and how might their case be affected?

Ohio Contributory Negligence Statute

Under Ohio Revised Code § 2315.33, a person can still recover damages if they are partially at fault for their accident. However, their negligence cannot exceed the combined negligence of the liable parties (or party), meaning the plaintiff cannot be more than 50% at fault, or recovery is not permitted.

How Contributory Negligence Can Affect Your Personal Injury

If you are assigned a percentage of fault for the accident, your settlement award will be reduced by that percentage. For instance, if you are deemed to be 30% at fault for a car accident, your initial award of $100,000 will be reduced by $30,000, and you will only receive $70,000.

Examples of instances where a plaintiff can be considered partially at fault for their accident:

  • Sammi is suing her neighbors because their dog bit her while she was attending their barbecue. The neighbors are at fault because they failed to warn guests that their dog had a history of aggressive behavior and did not keep the dog away from guests. However, Sammi can also be assigned a percentage of fault if she provoked or harassed the dog.
  • Mike is suing a truck driver who rear-ended him on the highway. While the driver is primarily at fault, the defense may try to prove that Mike is also at fault because he made an unsafe lane change by failing to signal.
  • Bob is suing a grocery store after he slipped and fell because of a patch of ice in the parking lot and suffered a traumatic brain injury and several fractures. While the grocery store operators and staff were negligent in failing to keep their walkways clear, not putting salt on the ground, and not warning guests that water often pooled and froze in that area, the defense may argue that Bob is partially at fault for his fall. They may claim his shoes were worn and had no traction to help prohibit the fall and that Bob was on his phone—not paying attention to where he was walking. In this case, Bob could be assigned a percentage of fault.

Consult with Our Attorneys

If you or a loved one have been injured in a negligence-based accident, Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC is here and equipped to help you minimize your liability and maximize your compensation. We handle a wide range of personal injury cases, such as:

Unlike the insurance company representatives and opposing counsel, we can work with your best interest in mind. Once you retain our services, our attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options, and we can help you fight to receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Learn more about how we can help you by calling (937) 403-9033 or reaching out online today to schedule an initial schedule.