Q: Why doesn’t Maryland abolish contributory negligence if so few other states use it?
While most states have moved away from contributory negligence in favor of a standard that awards compensation based on a percentage of fault, Maryland remains entrenched in the contributory negligence camp.
Both judges and legislators have repeatedly upheld the current standard, though there have been numerous attempts to do away with it.
Most recently, the Maryland Supreme Court heard arguments in Coleman vs. the Soccer Association of Columbia, et. al. In this case, 20-year-old Kyle Coleman was injured when a part of a soccer goal post fell on him.
Lesser courts determined that Coleman contributed to the accident by holding onto the crossbar as he entered the goal and therefore did not deserve any compensation. He appealed the verdict and the Supreme Court heard arguments this past September.
The higher court has not yet issued a verdict in that case, but even if it does rule in favor of the victim, that is only one court case. Getting the law itself changed would still be an uphill battle.
The court does play a big role in enforcing the concept of contributory negligence, but it is actually up to Maryland legislators, not the judges, to change the law. So far legislators have quelled numerous attempts to introduce bills that would change the standard. They believe that contributory negligence is still better because it:
- Avoids frivolous Maryland car accident lawsuits
- Keeps insurance premiums low
- Encourages people to be alert in order to avoid personal injury in a Maryland accident
Those in a position of power don’t seem ready to do away with contributory negligence anytime soon. In the meantime, victims must learn how to work in a system that makes recouping damages far more difficult than in most states.
For that reason, it’s all the more important that you have an experienced Maryland accident lawyer representing you in any accident where you were injured. To see why we’re the right law firm for you, call Nickelsporn & Lundin at 800-875-9700.