How Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Law Can Prevent Injury Victims from Recovering Compensation

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Personal Injury Published on September 30, 2019 and updated on March 6, 2022.

lady justiceIf you are involved in an accident, it is likely that you will try to pursue compensation for the damages you incurred. But if you share some fault in the accident, you may not be able to recover any compensation because of a harsh Maryland law.

The Maryland personal injury lawyers at Peter T. Nicholl Law Offices can explain how this law may apply to your claim in a free consultation. We can also determine if you may have a case and what it may be worth.

What is Negligence?

Most personal injury claims are based on the legal theory of negligence. There are four elements of negligence, including duty of care, breach of duty of care, causation and damages. You must establish each of those elements to have a valid claim and have a chance of obtaining compensation for damages.

The duty of care is a duty to take reasonable action to prevent others from suffering injuries. For example, a person may owe a duty of care to other drivers, patients, or customers. You must prove the other party failed to uphold a duty of care and show this is what caused your injuries. If you cannot link the breach to your injuries, and link your injuries to damages, you will not be able to recover compensation (medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering).

What Does the Contributory Negligence Law Say?

In the state of Maryland, a harsh contributory negligence law is applied to personal injury cases. This law says you cannot recover compensation for an injury if you share any amount of fault for what happened.

Essentially, this means the other party could be 99 percent at fault, but because you are one percent at fault, you cannot recover compensation.

This law is applied in court, but insurance companies also apply it to accident claims. You can be sure the other party will attempt to use this law to avoid financial responsibility for your damages. This is why it is so important to talk to a lawyer who can help determine if you share fault or not.

Examples of Contributory Negligence

If two people are involved in a motor vehicle accident, both of them could be partially at fault.

For example, the first driver may have been in the wrong because he or she went through a red light or failed to stop at a stop sign. However, the other driver involved in the collision may have been slightly in the wrong, too. The second driver may have been speeding, making a wrong turn, or driving while distracted because of a phone call or text message.

In a situation like this, both parties could be found at fault and neither of them would be able to file a claim against the other to seek compensation.

Contributory negligence can even occur with slip and fall accidents. For example, an employee in a store may have decided to mop the floors because something spilled on the ground. However, that employee could have forgotten to put warning signs around the wet floor when a person walked on it and slipped and suffered injuries.

If it turns out the injured individual was not paying attention when walking because he or she was texting, the individual may be partially at fault.

Have Questions About the Law in Maryland? Call an Attorney Today

Contributory negligence can prevent some injury victims from recovering the compensation they need after suffering injuries.

Our lawyers can explain what you need to know about this law in a free, no-obligation consultation. We can also explain if you may have a case.

Call us today 410-244-7005. Our firm can be reached by phone or case evaluation form 24 hours a day.