It’s Tradition—Despite Potential Harm to Victims, Contributory Negligence Is Still the Standard in Maryland Auto Accidents
The car came out of nowhere. The accident left you dazed and in pain. Now a pile of medical bills sits on the counter, gathering dust because you can’t afford to pay the thousands of dollars demanded of you.
As you explore your options, you come across the term “contributory negligence.” You quickly discover that this long-held standard puts victims of a Maryland auto accident in danger of getting nothing—absolutely no money—for their injuries.
Your shoulders sag with despair. Is there any hope?
What Contributory Negligence Means to Victims of a Maryland Car Crash
Car accident victims frequently see contributory negligence as harmful, and with good reason. In contributory negligence states, anyone who contributes even minimally to an accident is automatically barred from receiving any compensation. This means that no matter how little your part in causing the crash was, you could well wind up with nothing.
When you’ve been injured in a car accident someone else caused, it’s only natural to expect that the person who caused the accident will be responsible for the medical bills you acquired as a result of the accident. When the court instead accuses you of making a “contributing” mistake and strips you of any right to damages, it can be disheartening.
Why Not Do Away With Contributory Negligence?
With many deserving victims ending up empty-handed, there have been repeated attempts to overthrow the current standard, first adopted in 1847, in favor of one that gives victims more rights.
Most states today follow what is known as comparative negligence, which awards compensation based on a percentage. In these states, a person who is partially responsible for the accident may still receive a reduced compensation.
Only Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina, and the District of Columbia still use contributory negligence. Maryland legislatures have held on to the current standard despite numerous bills in favor of comparative negligence.
Those in favor of sticking with tradition argue that a switch could lead to an influx of frivolous lawsuits and a resulting increase in insurance premiums. Whether or not this belief is correct, the truth remains that the current contributory negligence makes recouping damages difficult for victims.
So Where’s the Hope After Injury in a Maryland Car Accident?
In order to protect your right to compensation, you must prove that you did not contribute to the accident. This is when it becomes vital that you have a skilled Maryland accident attorney on your side to prove your innocence.
The good news is that with experienced attorneys like Nickelsporn & Lundin representing you, your chances at winning damages will be much higher. To set up a free consultation and learn how we can help you, call 800-875-9700.