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A legal theory of negligence followed in some states (often called “contrib.” for short). Under this theory, if someone was guilty of negligence that caused injury to another person, but the injured person was also negligent in any manner at all that contributed to his or her injuries,then there will be no recovery.
Example: If a contractor built a deck with supports in the soil instead of in concrete, the contractor would be guilty of negligence. If the homeowner routinely left a hose dripping at the base of one of the supports, leaching out the soil and rotting the wood, the homeowner would also be guilty of negligence. If the deck collapsed, then in a contributory negligence state the home- owner would not be allowed to recover any damages at all from the contractor. In a comparative negligence state, the homeowner's recovery would be reduced, but not eliminated.