Understanding Contributory Negligence in Your Personal Injury Case

Who is at fault for an accident isn’t always clear. Sometimes more than one person is to blame for a car accident, for example. If someone else ran a red light and hit you, they are clearly at fault for most of the accident. However, if you were speeding, that factor could play into why the accident happened and how severe your injuries may be.

Maryland is one of just a handful of states that still uses “contributory negligence” in their legal analysis of personal injury cases. While the concept is likely something most people have never heard before, it becomes very important if you were injured in a car accident, slip and fall situation, or any other personal injury matter.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

Under the concept of contributory negligence, if a personal injury victim wants to collect for the injury, he/she could not have “contributed” to their injuries in any way. If they did, they would be completely barred from getting any money damages to address their injuries. In essence—if you are even 1% at fault for the accident, you cannot recover, even if you prove the other party was 99% at fault.

The rule is very insurance company-friendly. It makes it much harder for personal injury victims to recover after an accident.

The Rationale Behind Contributory Negligence

Every person has a duty to others to generally act safely and reasonably. A civil lawsuit arises when someone violates that duty, and the violation causes injuries.

The concept of contributory negligence acknowledges that even as a personal injury victim, you still have a duty to act reasonably and avoid situations that can cause harm.

For example, imagine you slipped and fell in a grocery store because of some water on the floor. The grocery store is certainly responsible for keeping its store safe and free of hazards. However, you also have a responsibility to watch where you are going. If you saw the wet floor sign and ignored it, walking on the wet floor anyway, Maryland law would likely bar you from getting money damages in that type of situation.

How to Combat Contributory Negligence After an Accident

Although contributory negligence makes recovery much harder in Maryland personal injury cases, it is certainly not impossible to overcome. Injuries after an accident can be devastating, and they can affect your life forever. In those situations, you should not let the concept of contributory negligence stop you from asserting your legal case.

Instead, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you present your case in the best light possible, even if you might have been partially at fault. We can review your situation during our free consultation process to determine whether you should be concerned about contributory negligence as part of your case. Contact us to set up an appointment today. Call us at 855-Big-Dog1.


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