Now, the Tennessee defendants in Brown v. Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. have fired back, alleging plaintiff is to blame for her own injuries. Where plaintiff asserts the park is negligent for failure to maintain a working lock mechanism on a motorized swing ride, defense asserts plaintiff voluntarily left the ride before it was finished, jumping to the ground and causing her own injuries.
Although this kind of defense – known as comparative fault – is a challenge that is often raised in personal injury lawsuits across the country, it can be especially damaging here in North Carolina. That’s because we, along with just three other states plus the District of Columbia, adhere to a system of pure contributory negligence. Under this principle, plaintiff may not recover damages if his negligence proximately caused his injury. This is true even when defendant shares more of the blame than plaintiff. Continue reading