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Are You Being Blamed for an Accident? Let a Laurel Personal Injury Attorney Help

| January 29, 2021

Whether it’s a car accident or a slip and fall case, our clients are usually pretty sure of who was to blame for their injuries. As a result, it is often a rather unpleasant surprise when the other party claims that the accident is our client’s fault, even if only partially. As meritless as their claims may be, you should take their argument very seriously because it could have a profound impact on your claim. If you’re being blamed for your accident by the party you think should be held accountable, we recommend that you contact a Laurel personal injury attorney as soon as possible. 

Understanding Contributory Negligence  

Of course, there are accidents where both parties may be to blame. For example, in a car accident, one driver may have run a stop sign, but the other driver was speeding. If one of the parties is seriously injured, should they be entitled to bring a claim against the other, even though the accident was partially their fault? 

The legal system has grappled with this issue for a long time. Traditionally, states adopted the contributory negligence rule. Under the contributory negligence rule, a party who was at least partially at fault in causing an accident is barred from receiving any compensation.  

The contributory negligence rule obviously leads to some harsh consequences. As a result, most states have adopted some variation on what is referred to as the “comparative negligence” rule. Under the comparative negligence rule, the injured party can receive compensation, but their award is reduced by the amount that their negligence contributed to the accident. 

Maryland Follows the Contributory Negligence Rule

Maryland is one of only four states and the District of Columbia that follow the pure contributory negligence rule. As a result, if the at-fault party can successfully claim that your negligence contributed to the accident in some small way, you will not be able to receive any compensation. For example, if you were injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, you may be barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries simply because you were driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. 

If you are worried that your own negligence may compromise your claim, it is important to emphasize that the other party must prove that you were contributorily negligent. This means two things: 

  1. They have to prove that you were negligent in some way; and 
  2. They have to prove that your negligence caused the accident in some way. 

Even if they can prove that you were negligent, that isn’t enough. Using the example above, they would have to prove that driving slightly faster than the speed limit was a partial cause of the accident. 

Call a Laurel Personal Injury Attorney Right Away

An experienced personal injury lawyer will not only be able to prove your case but can also overcome any defenses you may encounter. Laurel personal injury attorney Thomas E. Pyles has decades of experience in helping injured people get fair compensation. If you have been injured in an accident, give us a call at 301-705-5006 or email us to schedule a free consultation. We have office locations in Leonardtown and Waldorf for your convenience.