Contributory Negligence and How It Affects Accident Victims

As an experienced personal injury law firm, we see hundreds, even thousands, of accident cases each year. Some of the cases we see involved an accident that was purely the fault of one party. These types of accidents are typically drunk driving accidents, distracted driving accidents, or other situations involving a clear infraction of a traffic law.

courthouse-1330873-m.jpg

However, there are many accidents that are not clearly only one party’s fault. These types of accidents can pose a problem for Maryland accident victims due to Maryland’s law of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine that acts to bar the recovery of any accident victim who is at fault for the accident in which they were injured.

At first blush, such a law seems to make sense. Why should an accident victim be able to recover from another party if the “victim” was also at fault? However, contributory negligence can lead to some seemingly unjust results. For instance, consider a case where a pedestrian is jaywalking but is hit by a drunk driver who ran a red light. Under Maryland law, if the jury found that the pedestrian was partially at fault for the accident, the pedestrian would not be able to recover for any of the damages he or she sustained in the accident.

Contributory negligence is used by a minority of jurisdictions in the United States. Most other states use what is called “comparative fault.” Comparative fault looks at each party’s relative percentage of fault and reduces that party’s recovery amount by that percent. To use the above example, if the jury found that the pedestrian suffered $1 million in damages, but was 20% at fault for the accident, the pedestrian may recover around $800,000.

The Importance of Establishing Fault in Maryland Accidents

The fact that Maryland uses contributory negligence to determine which accident victims are permitted to recover for their injuries means that it is critical to an accident victim’s case to establish that they are free of all fault. It is therefore crucial that an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney is involved in the case preparation.

With a skilled attorney’s assistance, you will be able to better tell your story to the jury, allowing them to see that you are the only victim involved and that you were not at fault for the accident that resulted in your injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?

If you or a loved on has recently been involved in a Maryland accident, you should speak to a dedicated personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have years of experience recovering for their clients and know what it takes to bring forward a winning case. With thousands of hours in front of judges and juries, the knowledgeable attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen are a good choice for any Maryland accident victim. Click here, or call 410-654-3600 today to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Recall in the Midwest Results in 1.8 Million Pounds of Ground Beef Being Recalled; Hummus Recalled as Well, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 28, 2014.

Drowning Death During Tough Mudder Competition Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 5, 2014.

Contact Information