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Steve Silverman
Steve Silverman
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Contributory Negligence Doctrine Bars Many Maryland Personal Injury Claims

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Personal Injury law in Maryland is vastly different then other states due to the Doctrine of Contributory Negligence. Contributory negligence means that if a person is found to be 1% or more at fault, that person is 100% barred from making any recovery. For example, if you are the victim of a rear end collision and the judge or jury finds you contributed to the accident by stopping too quickly, you can not recover for any of your medical bills, lost wages or other damages.

Often in slip and fall cases, a Maryland plaintiff will be barred from recovery because a jury determines the plaintiff is partially at fault for not watching where she was going. This is the case even if the store owner left an oil spill on the floor for 5 hours and failed to warn the customers! Such unjust results can be devastating to an individual who accumulates hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and the defendant is mostly to blame.

The Contributory Negligence Doctrine is unique to Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia. The net effect is that it invites litigation and clogs the court system because at-fault parties often believe that they can duck liability if they can show the defendant was 1% at-fault.

Because of the unique burden of proof required in Maryland, personally injury victims need too choose their attorney wisely and with great caution. Sadly, often the success of a case is determined by a very thin margin. For this reason, experience and trial skills are critical.