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Maryland’s High Court Upholds Negligence Rule

The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a central law in negligence cases recently. The decision to continue to follow the contributory negligence standard in personal injury claims came after an underlying case that involved a volunteer soccer coach who suffered serious facial injuries when a set of goal posts fell on him. A jury found that the Soccer Association of Columbia, where the coach was working, failed to anchor the posts to the ground, which was deemed negligent behavior. However, the jury also found that the coach acted negligently by misusing the equipment and hanging on the posts. According to Maryland’s negligence standard, the coach was barred from collecting any damages, which would have reimbursed him for extensive facial reconstructive surgery.

What is contributory negligence?

Contributory negligence is a rule that bans plaintiffs from receiving compensation in a personal injury case if they are found to be even one percent at fault. This is a rather strict rule, and Maryland is one of only four states that follow this standard. However, many politicians and residents believe that it is a fair and balanced statute because it prevents people from acting carelessly.

In Maryland, contributory negligence is used instead of comparative negligence, which appropriates damages in proportion to each party’s fault. For example, in a comparative negligence state, if the soccer coach were to be found 20 percent at fault for the accident, he would have been allotted only 80 percent of his entitled compensation. Having strong representation in a personal injury case in Maryland is vital because plaintiffs must have flawless accounts of their accident and be able to prove they played absolutely no role in their injury.

If you have any questions about how this negligence standard affects you, or if you were injured and think you deserve compensation, call our La Plata personal injury attorneys.

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