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Contributory or Comparative: Which is the Optimal Negligence Rule?
Northern Illinois University Law Review (2003)
  • Christopher J Robinette
  • Paul G. Sherland
Almost immediately after negligence emerged as a distinct tort in the early nineteenth century, the defense of contributory negligence began to develop in conjunction with it. The contributory negligence rule is that when a plaintiff's negligence contributes to the occurrence of an accident, the plaintiff cannot recover damages from a defendant who negligently injures him. Thus, even a slightly negligent plaintiff could not recover from a negligent defendant if the plaintiff's negligence proximately caused his own injury. The contributory negligence rule originated in the English case of Butterfield v. Forrester and was eventually adopted by all fifty states and the District of Columbia.
  • negligence,
  • torts,
  • contributory negligence,
  • comparative negligence
Publication Date
Fall 2003
Citation Information
Christopher J Robinette and Paul G. Sherland. "Contributory or Comparative: Which is the Optimal Negligence Rule?" Northern Illinois University Law Review Vol. 24 (2003) p. 41
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