It is important to consult a lawyer where contributory negligence laws may apply because they may be able to explain potential arguments the defendant in your case might use against you. In Maryland, contributory negligence can be a harsh rule to fight against, so getting insight from a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with this legal doctrine might help you better understand what you might be up against when pursuing compensation.
If you decide to work with a lawyer after consulting them or one of their law firm representatives, they can help you build your case argument and prepare defenses against any contributory negligence arguments the defendant might make.
Maryland’s Personal Injury Cases Are Affected by Contributory Negligence
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), the 2013 Coleman v. Soccer Association of Columbia case confirmed contributory negligence as a “viable defense” against plaintiffs, meaning they might be barred from receiving compensation for their damages if they are determined to be partially at fault for the accident that injured them.
Since this ruling by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, personal injury cases in the state remain a challenging feat for plaintiffs to overcome on their own, especially if they are unfamiliar with the legal doctrine. Surprised by this common law tort rule, some plaintiffs might not be equipped with the proper defenses against contributory negligence and could put their case at risk of being lost.
A Lawyer May Be Able to Anticipate the Arguments the Opposing Party Might Make
One of the benefits of working with a lawyer is that once they review your case, they may be able to anticipate the likely arguments the opposing party or parties might make based on their experience with similar cases.
Assumption of Risk
A common argument seen with contributory negligence is that the plaintiff had an established “assumption of risk.” In 2010, the George Poole v. Coakley & Williams Construction, Inc.
case ruled that if a plaintiff had prior knowledge of the risk involved in an activity or with a hazard, then one can argue that the plaintiff assumed this risk before getting into an accident.
Your lawyer may be able to determine whether it is accurate to claim you had prior knowledge or if the defendant assumes you should have had this knowledge. Your lawyer might analyze the extent of precaution the defendant took to warn others of danger or prevent harm.
Another thing to note is that your case might involve more than one liable party, even if only one other party was involved in the accident at the time it took place. Your lawyer can investigate your case to determine if more than one party might be held liable for your damages and then help you pursue compensation from them.
If your case involves multiple potentially liable parties, you may have to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against each party separately. Your lawyer can do this on your behalf after preparing the paperwork. If your case involves multiple parties, this might increase your chances of receiving compensation, as each party would have to argue why they are not at fault for the accident. While some parties might be able to claim contributory negligence, not every party may succeed in their attempts.
For example, suppose another driver got into an accident with you due to a vehicle part malfunction. In that case, the vehicle part’s manufacturer might also be held liable due to strict products liability law. Contributory negligence is not always a viable argument concerning product liability, so your lawyer may be able to fight against any claims made against you, particularly since you were not the driver of the vehicle that malfunctioned.
Consult the Legal Team at the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow
Now that you know why it is important to consult a lawyer where contributory negligence laws may apply, call the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow to receive a free consultation about your case. By calling (410) 877-6021, you can speak with a member of our team about any concerns and questions you might have about your personal injury case, including how contributory negligence might affect your case.
Our Edgewood lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, allowing our clients to be relieved of the stress of wondering how they can afford a lawyer. Through this method, you are not obligated to pay any attorney’s fees unless we win your case, and our fee comes out of your compensation reward. That way, you never have to pay out of pocket for our services. Reach out today for a free case evaluation so we can get started.