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Comparative Fault vs. Contributory Negligence: In Simple Terms

Comparative fault and contributory negligence both relate to personal injury claims. However, they are not the same thing. A Maryland personal injury lawyer can discuss comparative fault vs. contributory negligence with you and help you decide if now is the right time to file a claim. 


The Snyder Law Group, LLC has been teaching people about comparative fault vs. contributory negligence for many years. Our Maryland personal injury attorney is available to review your case and explain how comparative fault or contributory negligence applies to it. For more information, please reach out to us. 


What Is the Difference Between Comparative Fault and Contributory Negligence?

With comparative fault, the amount of compensation awarded in an injury case is reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. Meanwhile, with contributory negligence, a plaintiff cannot recover damages if they are found to be in any way responsible for their injury. To understand comparative fault vs. contributory negligence, consider injury lawsuit examples in which shared fault applies. 


You can get hurt in a car accident and sue the at-fault motorist for $10,000. A judge or jury finds you are 20% responsible for the crash. If comparative fault is in effect, you will receive $8,000, or 80% of the compensation you originally requested.


Now, consider what happens in the same instance if contributory negligence applies. This situation results in barred recovery. This means you are fully responsible for all of the costs associated with your accident, even if you are only partly responsible for it. 


Comparative Fault vs. Contributory Negligence: Which Legal Doctrine Does Maryland Follow?

Maryland is considered a contributory negligence state. In terms of plaintiff negligence, you cannot get any compensation in an injury lawsuit in Maryland if you are found to be even 1% responsible. There is no liability reduction, percentage split, or proportional compensation if you and the defendant in your case share responsibility for your injury. 


If you file a truck accident claim or any other injury lawsuit, it is paramount to account for contributory negligence. A personal injury lawyer in Maryland will help you build a case that shows the defendant was 100% responsible for your injury. They will gather evidence and witness testimony to show that you were not at fault. 


The Snyder Law Group, LLC has a proven track record of success in personal injury cases. Our personal injury attorney in Maryland will help you craft a compelling argument so you can secure compensation from anyone who caused your injury. To find out more, please get in touch with us. 


How Does Contributory Negligence Affect Injury Claims?

In a personal injury lawsuit, a defendant may cite contributory negligence as a legal defense. They will argue that they were not fully responsible for the plaintiff’s injury. The plaintiff will need to show a judge or jury that the defendant was completely responsible — otherwise, they cannot receive any compensation. 


There are factors that must be present to prove that someone was responsible for a personal injury. These are called “elements of negligence,” and they are:


  • Duty of Care: This refers to a legal obligation in which one person is expected not to act carelessly since they could harm someone else. 
  • Breach of Duty of Care: A duty of care is breached when one person harms another due to the fact that they did not provide a reasonable level of care. 
  • Causation: Because a person breached their duty of care, they caused someone else to get hurt.
  • Damages: When a person breached their duty of care, they harmed someone else and caused this individual to suffer losses. 


If you are wondering when to file a lawsuit and how contributory negligence will impact your case, consult with an attorney. Then, the lawyer will help you weigh the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit. They will also explain how a settlement negotiation will work if you move forward with your claim. 


How Does Contributory Negligence Affect a Settlement Negotiation?

You have three years from the date you discover an injury or five years from the date an injury was committed to sue anyone responsible for it for damages, per Maryland Statutes §5-109. Once you file your lawsuit, you are responsible for providing the burden of proof that verifies the defendant was responsible for your injury. If you have concerns that you will not be able to prove the defendant was at fault, you may want to negotiate a settlement. 


Settlement negotiations are common in personal injury lawsuits. Your lawyer will work with you, the defendant, and their attorney to come to terms on a settlement. Before your case goes to trial, you may receive multiple settlement offers to review. 


If you get a settlement offer that lines up with your expectations, you can accept it and close your case. On the other hand, you may not receive a settlement offer that gives you an adequate amount of compensation, or the defendant may not propose a settlement. In either of these scenarios, you will go to trial and must prove the defendant was fully responsible for your injury to secure compensation. 


What It Takes to Prove Fault in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

You may have concerns about the strength of your personal injury claim — and rightfully so. Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to build a compelling argument that puts you in a great position to get damages. These things include:


Collect Evidence

Photos, videos, medical records, and other pieces of evidence are difference-makers in personal injury claims. You and your lawyer can gather a wide range of evidence that makes it clear to a judge or jury why you deserve compensation. If you have plenty of evidence, the defendant in your lawsuit may be inclined to offer a fair settlement, too. 


Find Witnesses

If someone saw your motorcycle accident or any other incident that led to your personal injury, ask this person to serve as a witness. During your trial, your lawyer will question witnesses, and these individuals can provide insights into your point of view. If you have credible witnesses at your side, you can boost your chances of getting compensation. 


Avoid Posting Content on Social Media

Much in the way that you will build a case against the defendant, the defendant will attempt to build a case against you. If you post content on social media, you may inadvertently share photos or videos that will be used against you. Therefore, it is in your best interests to avoid publishing content on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and other social media platforms that could potentially compromise your lawsuit. 


Hire an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Meet with a personal injury attorney, discuss your case, and find out how this lawyer will help you get compensation. It is beneficial to partner with a lawyer who has received dozens of positive client testimonials. This attorney has shown that they are able to help their clients achieve their desired case results — and they will do everything they can to help you win or settle your personal injury lawsuit. 

The Snyder Law Group, LLC works harder and fights harder than other Maryland personal injury law firms. We have the legal skills and passion to help you get compensation in your personal injury case. To learn more or schedule a free case evaluation, please contact us online or call us at 410-755-5829.

Call 410-THE-FIRM. Don't just sue them. SNYDER THEM

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2023 at 3:23 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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