Q: If I was partially responsible for the car crash I was injured in, can I still pursue a claim and collect compensation?
In Maryland, any amount of fault denies your ability to make a financial recovery for your injuries. This is because Maryland has a contributory negligence law. However, if the crash occurred in another state, you may have rights under comparative negligence.
Under comparative negligence, even if you were partially responsible for the accident you were injured in, you should still be able to get compensation. For example, you are in a car accident that wasn’t completely your fault. After you tell the insurance company your side of the story, they may feel you are, say, 30 percent at fault for the car accident. As a result, they will assign 70 percent of the blame to the other driver and award you a 70 percent recovery. This means that your recovery will be lessened by the 30 percent of the fault you had in the accident. However, it is important to note that determining the amount of fault is open to negotiation. Just because the insurance adjuster claims that you are responsible for 30 percent of the crash doesn’t mean you have to accept their determination. You can hire an attorney to argue that you were only 15 percent at fault, for example, and get a bigger settlement.
Unfortunately, there are times when the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay the money you need to cover you property damages, medical bills, lost income, and other damages. When this happens you might not be able to collect the full amount you are due. For this reason, it is always advisable to carry underinsured motorist coverage in order to be able to collect the amount of money you need to cover your losses and damages.