Friday, October 14, 2016

Major Changes to DC Contributory Negligence Law Signed by Mayor Bowser

Mayor Bowser signs contributory negligence bill
as Greg Billing of WABA looks on.
Image: News4
Congratulations to WABA for working with the DC Council and Mayor Bowser to advocate for major changes to DC's contributory negligence law. Yesterday Mayor Bowser signed the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act which will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to sue for damages if they are less than 50% negligent.

Now only 4 states, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, and North Carolina have pure contributory negligence, which states that if a cyclist or pedestrian is struck by a motorist and the cyclist or pedestrian was only marginally negligent, then that person cannot sue for damages. For more background on contributory negligence see Fairness for Crash Victims or earlier FABB blog entries that mention the subject.

This is a great victory for cyclists and a possible model for Virginia to follow. Now is the time to change Virginia's antiquated contributory negligence law. For an excellent argument for overturning contributory negligence in Virginia, see Virginia Should Abolish The Archaic Tort Defense Of Contributory Negligence And Adopt A Comparative Negligence Defense In Its Place.



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