Contributory negligence is a partial defence in the law whereby the claimant is deemed to have suffered damage as a result partly of his or her own fault. If contributory negligence is to be used as a defence, the burden of proof is on the defendant to demonstrate that the claimant failed to take proper care in the circumstances for their own safety and that the failure to take care was a contributory cause of the damage suffered.
An example of contributory negligence as a defence in a workplace scenario could occur when the employer has exercised an appropriate duty of care (see Duty of Care) but an accident has still happened. So for instance, the employer may have implemented and followed all the correct systems and procedures and ensured employees were trained in and were familiar with these systems and procedures yet nonetheless the employee did not follow these procedures (such as wearing the appropriate safety gear) and was injured as a consequence.
Awards may be reduced to reflect the element of contributory negligence in such a situation.
Peninsula Business Services can provide advice and assistance if you need guidance as to your obligations in the area of contributory negligence. Contact us today – call 0800 0282 420, or use our callback form to arrange for us to get in touch at a time that is convenient for you.