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Overview Of Maryland’s Harsh Contributory Negligence Rule


It seems like every day there is a story in the headlines about a serious accident, from car and truck crashes to slip and falls and workplace injuries. Accidents are so commonplace that they are the fourth leading cause of death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Plus, unintentional injuries send more than 24 million victims to the ER annually, and almost 25 million people head to a physician’s office for care. In Maryland, you have legal rights if you were hurt in an accident that was not your fault, so it is possible to recover compensation for your losses.

However, besides having enough evidence to prove your case, you may also be on the defensive in an accident claim. Maryland follows the rule of contributory negligence, which highlights your own misconduct. There can be serious consequences if the contributory negligence rule applies in your case, so consult with an Owings Mills personal injury attorney for details. You can also review some background information on how the law works.

 Overview of Negligence in Personal Injury Cases: Negligence is similar to carelessness, except that there are more specific definitions in the practice of law. Everyone has a duty to exercise reasonable care when acting, so they do not create a risk of accidents and injuries to others. A person typically complies with this obligation by driving safely, following traffic laws, and keeping the property clear of hazards.

When someone breaches this legal duty of care, their actions may constitute negligence. An at-fault party can be held accountable when the breach causes an accident and injures another person.

 Contributory Negligence in Maryland: In all US states, personal injury laws on negligence will turn the tables and look at a victim’s conduct in connection with an accident. For most jurisdictions, the victim’s compensation could be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to each party.

However, in Maryland, the contributory negligence rule eliminates compensation to the victim. The at-fault party can raise your own negligent acts as a part of a defense strategy. If you were found to be negligent in an accident, even though you were just slightly responsible, you cannot recover any monetary damages.

Examples of Contributory Negligence: Because the impact of the rule is so harsh on victims’ rights, it is crucial to review some of the ways you could be negligent. The contributory negligence law may bar compensation if:

  • You were hurt in a car crash because the other driver ran a red light, but you were speeding at the time;
  • A truck driver carrying an overweight load rear-ended your vehicle, but you changed lanes into the vehicle’s path; or,
  • You ignored a warning sign at a store and suffered injuries when you slipped. 

An Owings Mills Personal Injury Lawyer Will Advise You on Relevant Laws

This summary of contributory negligence in Maryland is useful, but you can count on Furman | Honick Law to address challenges with your claim. For more information, please call 410-844-6000 or go online to schedule a free consultation at our Owings Mills or Baltimore offices.



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