Definition - What does Contributory Negligence mean?
Contributory negligence refers to the negligent conduct of the injured party, usually the plaintiff, that was a contributing cause to the received injuries. Jurisdictions create their own enforceable standard on whether or not someone who is found to have contributed to the negligence that caused the injuries can recover. In some states, you must have contributed 50% or less to the injury. People who are found to have contributed 51% or more cannot recover any damages in many states.
Justipedia explains Contributory Negligence
For example, if a pedestrian crosses the road negligently (i.e. when they do not have the right-of-way, when they jay-walk, etc.) and is hit by a driver who was driving negligently, the pedestrian may be found contributively negligent. In some jurisdictions, the pedestrian may be barred completely from recovering any damages regardless of the severity of the pedestrian's negligence.
However, it should be noted that only four states and the District of Columbia recognize the doctrine of contributory negligence. Most states allow for a plaintiff who was partially negligent in creating their own harm to still recover damages.