Whether you are driving for work, personal errands, or travel, every Maryland driver will encounter…
Accidents are a leading cause of fatalities in Maryland and across the US, and statistics indicate that they are also one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the fourth-ranking cause of death nationwide, killing up to 201,000 individuals annually. Around 24.8 million people head to their doctor’s office after suffering harm in an accident, while another 98 million victims receive treatment at hospital emergency departments. Fortunately, if you were hurt or lost someone close to you, state personal injury laws provide you with legal options.
However, there is a harsh rule that could impact your rights: Maryland’s contributory negligence law. In some cases, it could prevent you from recovering any compensation, though there are strategies for fighting the rule. You can count on your Owings Mills personal injury lawyer to address details, but it is important to understand the basics.
Application of Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Rule
To prove that you are entitled to compensation in an accident claim, you need to prove the theory of negligence. You must have evidence showing that the incident occurred because the at-fault party failed to exercise reasonable care, and you were harmed as a result.
Contributory negligence acts as a defense to your claim, potentially helping the at-fault party avoid liability. If the defendant can prove that you also failed to exercise reasonable care, you are barred from recovering any compensation.
Examples of Contributory Fault
Unlike other US states that look at the percentage of fault attributable to each party, Maryland’s contributory negligence law does not assign portions of blame. If you were responsible for causing the accident, even slightly, you cannot obtain monetary damages. The following points are illustrative, so contributory negligence may bar compensation:
- If you were hurt in a car accident caused by red light running, but you were speeding.
- Where you were injured on property in a part of the premises not open to the public;
- When you were jaywalking and got struck by a car; or,
- If you were riding your bike in the opposite direction of traffic.
Strategies for Overcoming Challenges
Initially, you should keep in mind that you have the opportunity to fight allegations that you were responsible for causing the accident. A jury may find in your favor and put the full blame on the defendant. Plus, additional tactics include:
- The last clear chance doctrine, in which you present evidence showing that the defendant was in the best position to prevent the accident; and,
- The defendant engaged in willful or intentional misconduct, which defeats contributory negligence allegations.
Trust a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney for Assistance
This overview of contributory negligence is helpful for understanding how the rule affects your remedies. The Law Office of William F. Mulroney is prepared to overcome these and other challenges, so please call (443) 352-8433 or visit us online to set up a no-cost consultation. Our firm serves injured victims throughout Baltimore County, and we are happy to guide you through the legal process.