Contributory Negligence in Maryland: What You Need to Know
Contributory Negligence and Auto Accidents
If you’ve been hurt in a Maryland car accident, contact personal injury trial attorney Randolph Rice at 410-288-2900 or email the office for immediate legal help. They offer a free consultation and will review your case and explain the process so you understand each step.
Contributory negligence is a term referring to auto accidents and who is at fault in an accident. This is particularly important when awarding damages, deciding various points of litigation, and resolving claims disputes when there is a problem with auto insurance.
In many auto accidents, there are multiple “parties” involved – such a vehicle and a pedestrian, or two vehicles in a collision, or a biker and a vehicle (some accidents, of course, have more than two parties but this is the simplest example). Negligence refers to who is at fault in a collision – which party is at fault, which party caused the accident. There can be many reasons for an accident, but for legal reasons it is very important find who precisely is at fault.
However, in many auto accidents it is difficult to prove exactly who is at fault. Moreover, it often becomes apparent that more than one party is at fault. A driver may have ignored a stoplight, but a pedestrian may have ignored a do-not-cross warning, for example. This presents a difficulty, and it is described as contributory negligence. In other words, through their negligence both parties contributed to the accident, and both are partly at fault.
Contributory and Comparative Negligence
Contributory and comparative negligence are closely related. In case of a lawsuit or a claims dispute, contributory negligence must lead to a resolution. This is where comparative negligence comes in. The court will closely compare the parties involved in the auto accident and all the details of the collision and any related injuries.
Using this data presented by attorneys, combined with testimony from witnesses if available, the court will decide where fault lies regarding each party. A driver may be more at fault if the driver had been drinking or ran a stop sign, for example, but a pedestrian may be found more at fault if they had run out unexpectedly into the middle of the road. Since every case is different, comparative negligence can vary considerably based the details and the perspective of the court.
A Focus on Percentages
Ultimately comparative negligence comes down to percentages. One party has a certain percentage of the fault, and the other party has the remaining percentage. If two drivers collide, the court may decide that one drive is 70% at fault through negligence and the other driver 30% at fault.
This is very useful for settling claims. If there is a total amount of compensation available for the accident, such as $100,000, it can be split 70/30 between the parties, awarding $70,000 to the party 30% at fault and $30,000 to party 70% at fault. The same is also true of damages in some lawsuits. If involved in an accident ask your attorney for more information on what this means for your case.
Contributory Negligence Maryland: Limitations
Each state has its own laws regarding negligence. In Maryland, there is a law known contributory negligence. This means that if a person is injured and found at fault in a car accident, they cannot legally recover damages from their insurance, even if they are only partly at fault. This can make contributory negligence a very expensive concept for pedestrians and careful drivers. Attempts have been made to change this law but thus far Maryland still upholds modified comparative negligence. Ask your lawyer about the latest legislation regarding this law.
If you’ve been hurt in an auto accident in Maryland, contact the personal injury attorney that will give your case personal attention. Attorney Randolph Rice is ranked by Super Lawyers, Avvo 10 out 10 and Lead Counsel Rated in Personal Injury.
Contact the office today at 410-288-2900 for immediate legal help.