Understanding how fault can affect your auto accident claim
Automobile accident cases are rarely black-and-white. Factors on both sides of an accident may contribute to a collision or injury. However, the state of Maryland’s laws take a very strict approach to auto accident claims in the form of contributory negligence laws. Understanding these laws can be critical to securing compensation for injuries and damage during an accident.
Fault in automobile accident claims can be determined in two ways: comparative negligence or contributory negligence. Most states follow the rules of comparative negligence, where the amount of compensation you are entitled to is affected by how much responsibility you share for the accident. For example, if one driver is 90% at fault, but the other driver is 10% at fault, the second driver is entitled to 90% of their full compensation.
Maryland and Washington, D.C., along with three other states, determines fault through contributory negligence. Contributory negligence does not look at percentages or share of fault, but simply whether or not each driver had fault in an accident or not. If a driver was not at fault in any way, then they are entitled to compensation. However, if a driver did share some responsibility for an accident, no matter how small, they have contributed to the accident and are not entitled to any damages.
In an auto accident claim, the defendant doesn’t need to prove they weren’t at fault. Instead, they simply need to prove that you shared at least a little responsibility for the accident. If they can do that, then you become ineligible for any payment for your injuries, lost income or damage to your vehicle.
This all-or-nothing result makes it all the more important to work with a lawyer who understands traffic laws and can help build a case. A successful accident claim requires an airtight argument that can convince the court that compensation is merited.
The attorneys at Mallon & McCool, LLC encourage anyone involved in an accident to contact their Baltimore law offices. They provide legal representation on behalf of drivers, and can help build a claims case that will prove their client was not at fault for an accident.