A plaintiff whose negligence contributed proximately to cause the injury is completely barred from recovery. Reasonable Person A plaintiff is required to act as a reasonable person would to avoid being injured. Exceptions:
1. Minors A child plaintiff will be held to the standard of a reasonable child with the same age, intelligence and experience.
Insane Persons The courts are split as to whether an insane person should be judged according to the reasonable person standard. Courts are more willing to use a subjective standard to judge the contributory negligence, as opposed to negligence, of an insane person since the insane person has not caused injury to another person.
Unforeseeable Manner If one’s negligence creates a risk to oneself of a particular harm being brought about in a particular manner, the person is not contributorily negligent if the harm occurs in an unforeseeable manner. Example: Rob warns Susan not to go in his room because she might cut herself on a broken window pane. Susan enters the room and is cut by a knife which was left on the floor. Although the cut she received was the same injury that was risked by her entry, she was not contributorily negligent because the harm was brought about in an unforeseeable manner, from the knife as opposed to the broken window pane. Affirmative Defense
A defendant must specifically plead and prove a plaintiff’s contributory negligence. Perilous Situation Remaining in a perilous situation may constitute contributory negligence.