Maryland Contributory Negligence

If you have been injured as the result of an accident, and are facing uncertainty over the success of an injury claim due to issues of contributory negligence in Maryland, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney in order to fully understand what is allowed and not allowed according to Maryland law. Contributory negligence laws in Maryland are actually quite different from those of most other states. Only Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, and Maryland use contributory negligence as a consideration in awarding damages.

General Negligence Cases

If you are suffering from a personal injury in the wake of an accident, it is possible that the defense might try to prove contributory negligence in your case, claiming you were at least partially responsible for the accident. Therefore, it is important to establish that you were not even slightly negligent to make sure you are eligible to receive damages. If the defense proves even a little negligence on your part, Maryland law for contributory negligence necessitates that the defense would prevail, preventing you from collecting any sort of compensatory damages. Most states allow for a shared comparative negligence, where if you are proven to be slightly negligent in the case, say 10% negligent for a $500,000 decision, you would still be awarded $450,000. This is not the case in Maryland.

For more information on accident liability and the advantage of an accident liability lawyer, contact our personal injury practice group.

Product Liability Cases

There are some exceptions to the general contributory negligence law in In a product liability case, contributory negligence is not always an automatic disqualification for receiving compensation. Contributory negligence would not be able to be used as a defense in strict product liability cases that involve design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure to warn. If you have been injured due to a product liability issue, it is important to understand how the defense will approach the case. It will be important to have your attorney evaluate possible defenses against your claim to be able to figure out the best course of action.

Maryland’s Controversial Contributory Negligence Law

While Maryland’s contributory negligence law is controversial, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight to its use. Attorneys have been arguing against it for decades, complaining that it is an outdated law. Most other states have either removed it from their law books or effectively ended it through the judicial process. The law was challenged recently, but the Maryland Court of Appeals voted to uphold the law as it is. The majority of the judges on the Court of Appeals appear content to let the matter be determined by the state’s General Assembly, which also appears to have no desire to change it. The law generally has the support of businesses, because it allows them to eliminate payouts when the plaintiff’s negligence can be proven. By eliminating payouts in cases like these, it is believed that it keeps the cost of insurance down for businesses.

Examples of Cases Where Contributory Negligence is Not Permitted

It should be noted that there are some instances where by, on first glance, contributory negligence would be applicable; but upon closer examination, is not. One is failure to use a seat-belt or child restraint. According to the Maryland Transportation Code, while these examples are technically misdemeanor crimes, they are inadmissible to prove contributory negligence in a personal injury case.

How Will It All Work Out?

As you try to figure out what course of action will be best to take, know that your attorney will be able to offer the best insight into what the possibilities are. It is important to have an attorney who knows how the contributory negligence law in Maryland affects the facts of each case. It is important to not give up just because you don’t think you can win. While no one can guarantee a victory in any kind of civil case, it is helpful to know that those you trust to work on your case will do the best job possible. Contact us today for an attorney who will be on your side.