How Can Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Laws Hurt My Personal Injury Claim?

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The state of Maryland takes driver negligence as a serious offense, which can be seen through its contributory negligence law. Find out more about this law and how an experienced St. Mary’s County car accident attorney at The Dorsey Law Firm can help you collect the proper evidence to prove that you were the no-fault party in your car accident.

How does the state of Maryland define contributory negligence?

The state of Maryland follows the law of contributory negligence, which states that if the other party in a car accident can show that you were partially at fault, you cannot receive any compensation from their insurance company. Specifically, even if the other party was the majority at fault, and even if you have significant medical bills or lost wages due to severe injuries, you will still not receive any form of compensation.

This contributory negligence law is rare in most of the country. Most states follow comparative negligence laws, which have the percentage of your fault correlated to your entitlement to damages. For example, if you were found to be only 10% at fault and the court awards $100,000, your compensation will only be reduced by 10%, or $10,000, and you would still receive the remaining $90,000. But under the state of Maryland’s contributory negligence rule, you would receive $0 because you still contributed a small percentage to the accident.

How do I prove I am not at fault for a car accident?

The other party will likely prove your contribution to the accident if there is evidence of a traffic law violation, such as running a red light, turning at a no-turn on red, speeding, or otherwise neglecting traffic signs.

However, you can counter the other party’s claims with the following:

  • Maryland’s Last Clear Chance Doctrine: you can receive compensation if you can prove that the other party had a last clear chance to avoid the crash but did not do so.
  • Maryland’s seat belt exception: simply not wearing your seat belt cannot be used as the only evidence of contributory negligence.

If either of these is relevant to your situation, do not hesitate in reaching out to a skilled St. Mary’s County auto accident lawyer today to help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Notably, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim in the state of Maryland is three years from the date of your accident.

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Our firm understands how overwhelming the claims process can be, which is why it is our job to handle the entire legal side of the matter while you focus solely on what matters most: healing. We know the ins and outs of the claims process, and we are ready to put our knowledge and experience in the field to work for you. Contact The Dorsey Law Firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.