What Should I Know About Contributory Negligence?June 28, 2019
Maryland is one of only five states that follows the contributory negligence rule in car accident cases. This means that if a motorist was even partially responsible for causing a car accident, they will not be able to recover compensation for any injuries or property damage. Even the slightest amount of fault can eliminate any chance of compensation. Fortunately, there are exceptions to this rule, which will allow you to recover damages. A skilled and experienced car accident lawyer can recommend the best legal course of action and secure the compensation you deserve.
The contributory negligence rule has been a controversial topic among lawmakers for some time. However, until legislative changes are made, this strict rule will continue to exist, making it difficult for motorists to collect compensation for injuries related to a car accident that they are only slightly responsible for causing. While only five states follow the contributory negligence rule, the other states apply the comparative negligence rule, which states that an injured victim can collect compensation based on the percentage that the defendant was at fault. For example, if the defendant was considered 50 percent responsible for causing the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff will recover 50 percent of the total damages. With contributory negligence, even if the plaintiff is only one percent responsible, they are not eligible to collect any damages.
Exceptions to the Contributory Negligence Rule
If it is determined that you are partially to blame for causing a car accident, you may be able to collect compensation if one of the following exceptions applies:
- Last Clear Chance Doctrine: Under the last clear chance doctrine, the other motorist may be considered liable for your injuries if they had a clear opportunity to avoid the accident but failed to act. If you can prove that the other driver could have avoided the accident, but failed to do so, you may be able to recover compensation.
- Intentional Acts: If the other motorist intentionally caused the car accident, that individual may not pursue contributory negligence as a line of defense. For example, if the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the victim may be able to collect compensation.
- Maryland’s Seat Belt Law: Even though Maryland drivers and front seat passengers are required to wear seat belts when the vehicle is moving, the at-fault driver may not use the contributory negligence defense if the other motorist was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Secure Compensation for Car Accident Victims
If you were injured in a car accident, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the crash and determine whether any of the exceptions discussed above apply to your case. If they do, we will pursue the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and ensure that your legal rights are protected. We will not stop fighting for you until justice has been served. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent car accident victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.