In some states that allow a contributory negligence defense, if a plaintiff is even partially negligent (responsible for what happened because the plaintiff contributed to the negligence), the plaintiff will be completely barred from recovering damages.  In New York, a plaintiff can still recover under those circumstances.  New York follows a comparative negligence rule under CPLR §1411, et seq. where contributory negligence does not bar recovery but damages are diminished in proportion to the attributable conduct (the plaintiff will recover less after the court reduces the damages based on what portion of the damages were caused by the plaintiff). New York also allows for contribution among the tortfeasors under CPLR §1401 et seq.

If you have a question about whether comparative or contributory negligence may impact your commercial litigation, contact us online or call Scott Lanin, Esq. at (212) 764-7250 Ext.201. We offer a free phone consult to review and evaluate your case or you can schedule an office consult.