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Negligence Defenses in Maryland, MD

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.

Contributory Negligence

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 civil matters.

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 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 a 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 consultation.

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert R. Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an experienced lawyer at (301)870-1200.