If you are presenting a claim for injuries and physical damages suffered
as a result of an automobile accident, the insurance company and/or defense
attorney will try to claim that you were at least partially responsible
for the accident. These tactics are important to be aware of, as they
may in some instances bar you from any financial recovery.
Maryland is one of the only remaining states that considers the theory of
contributory negligence when deciding on damage awards. If they can prove that you were even 1%
negligent in the accident, you are barred from any recovery at all. This
is a sharp contrast to states that rely on comparative negligence. In
a comparative negligence state, if you were found to be 10% negligent,
you would still receive 90% of the decision amount. In Maryland, even
1% negligence would mean no reimbursement at all.
Exception to Contributory Negligence
There are some instances in which contributory negligence may not apply.
Failure to use a seatbelt may not be used to show proof of contributory
negligence in personal injury matters. It is considered a criminal misdemeanor
under the transportation code, but that information cannot be used in
Another example centers around product liability claims. Defense attorneys
can not raise a contributory defense argument in strict liability cases
that center around manufacturer or product defects or failure to warn.
Assumption of Risk
Assumption of risk is an affirmative defense that that basically states
that the injured person voluntarily consented to the risk that caused
them to be injured, and therefore cannot sue. There are certain criteria
that the defense attorney has to prove, including that the claimant knew
the danger existed, understood the risk, and voluntarily chose to put
him or herself in the dangerous position.
Failure to Mitigate Damages
When you are injured in a car accident, you are expected to “mitigate
your damages,” which means you should not do anything that can make
your condition and/or injuries worse. For example, going back to work
prior to the doctor releasing you, or going out when you are on bed rest
would damage your case. Anything that you do that causes further harm
could jeopardize your ability to collect damages.
Statute of Limitations
This is not unique to Maryland, as all states have something called a statute
of limitations. This means that you only have a certain amount of time
to bring a lawsuit for damages as a result of an accident. In Maryland,
you have three years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit
against the driver you believe to be responsible for the accident. This
is why retaining a skilled
Maryland personal injury attorney is important, as we ensure that the statute of limitations is preserved
while negotiating with the insurance company’s representative or attorney.
Retaining a Maryland Car Accident Attorney
The defenses that will be presented by the other side can jeopardize your
case, which is why you need a qualified
Maryland car accident attorney to help present the strongest case possible. If you have been injured
in a car accident that was someone else’s fault,
please contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro to schedule a confidential
This article has been provided by
Law Office of Robert R. Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an
experienced lawyer at (301)870-1200.
Law Office of Robert Castro.
2670 Crain Highway #411, Waldorf, MD 20601. (301) 870-1200.