If you are preparing a personal injury case, the evidence you need to collect must be able to show how the accident or injury occurred, who caused it, and what your damages were as a result. Because of the severity of the contributory negligence rule, you should try to anticipate every potential defense argument the opposing party might make so that you can also retrieve evidence to refute their claims.
There are many different types of personal injury cases, so the specific evidence you need will vary based on the accident, injuries, and parties involved. This article will provide some examples of different forms of evidence you may collect for certain cases.
You can hire a personal injury lawyer to help you collect the evidence you need to prove fault in a case where contributory negligence laws apply. Your lawyer may also advise you on other legal factors of your case, such as how much and what kind of damages to claim, whether there might be other liable parties, and whether you should agree to a settlement or pursue a lawsuit instead.
Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Doctrine Puts Pressure on the Plaintiff
Maryland is one of four states that still upholds the contributory negligence rule, next to Virginia, North Carolina, and Alabama. Washington, D.C., also follows this doctrine, according to the American Bar Association (ABA). This legal tort rule essentially keeps plaintiffs from collecting damages if the defending party proves that the plaintiff contributed to the cause of the accident in some way.
Many states have adopted a comparative negligence rule, which allows plaintiffs to collect some damages despite being partially negligent. Some states have a “modified” version of this rule, as in, plaintiffs cannot be more at fault for the accident, but this may be defined. In Maryland, however, any percentage of fault bars plaintiffs from compensation due to the contributory negligence rule—even one percent of fault.
This places a lot of pressure on plaintiffs to build as comprehensive of a case against the defending party as possible. If you would like some help with building your case, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you collect evidence and anticipate potential arguments from the defending party.
Plaintiffs Should Try to Collect as Much Evidence as Possible
The following are some examples of evidence you and your legal team might collect to support your case and defend yourself from claims that you contributed to your injuries. Keep in mind that your lawyer may suggest other kinds of evidence based on the unique circumstances of your case.
Motor Vehicle Accident Cases
Motor vehicle accident cases can include any accidents involving motor vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Evidence for these cases might include:
- The official accident report, which you can retrieve at the local police station where the accident occurred
- Surveillance footage that captured the accident, such as from a nearby business, residence, or traffic camera
- Other forms of video footage that captured the accident, such as from a vehicle dashcam or a person’s cellphone
- Testimony from witnesses who saw the accident
- Testimony from expert witnesses who can verify information in the case, such as mechanics or medical professionals
Special circumstances might also require the following evidence:
- Black box information in cases involving commercial or governmental vehicles
- Test results for alcohol use in cases involving a drunk driver
- Cellphone records in cases involving a driver who was texting
Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability cases include any accidents or injuries that occurred while on public or private property. Evidence for these cases might include:
- Video footage, whether from surveillance cameras on the property, the plaintiff’s cellphone, or a witness’s cellphone
- Testimony from witnesses who saw the accident
- Photos of the accident scene or hazard, including photos that demonstrate a lack of warning
Product Liability Cases
Product liability cases include injuries that were caused by defective products, such as pharmaceutical medicines. Evidence for these cases might include:
- Product testing results and reports to the FDA for defective drug cases
- Proof that the plaintiff bought the product
- The actual product that caused harm
- Photos of defects on the product
- Video footage of the accident, if available
The Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow Wants to Help You Build Your Case
Interested in filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit in Maryland but worried about how contributory negligence might affect your case? A personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow may be able to help you collect the evidence you need to prove fault in a case where contributory negligence laws apply. Our legal team has managed personal injury cases of all kinds in Maryland, so we are prepared to do the research and investigation necessary to determine how to effectively build your case.
To begin the legal process, call our law office at (410) 877-6021 for a free case review by one of our team representatives. You can let us know your situation, and we can assign an Edgewood personal injury lawyer that practices in your case’s legal area, whether it involves a motor vehicle accident or product liability. Once you become our client, we offer a unique text number that allows you to communicate with us any time, any day of the week. Call today.