Comparative Fault/Negligence; Contributory Fault/Negligence

The law in Missouri used to be that contributory negligence was a complete bar to a plaintiff recovering any damages against a defendant for negligence. Under the contributory negligence rule, a plaintiff was prohibited from recovering damages if the plaintiff’s own negligence directly contributed in any way to the injuries. Gramex Corp. v. Green Supply, Inc., 89 S.W.3d 432, 439 (Mo. 2002). This approach was abandoned because, among other things, it imposed complete responsibility on one party for something that was be the fault of two or more parties.

Missouri, and most states, follow a comparative fault/negligence regime, under which a plaintiff’s negligence will not wholly foreclose a claim if the plaintiff can demonstrative that negligence of the defendant also contributed to cause the injury. A plaintiff’s negligence only reduces, but does not eliminate, a plaintiff’s recovery. Beal v. Kansas City Southern Ry. Co., 527 S.W.3d 883, 887 (Mo. Ct. App. 2017).

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