Understanding Comparative Negligence and Its Impact on Personal Injury Cases in Maryland

In some personal injury cases, determining liability may not be as straightforward as establishing the actions of a single at-fault party. In certain situations, both the plaintiff and defendant may share responsibility for the accident. Maryland applies the doctrine of “contributory” or “comparative” negligence to handle such cases. It is crucial for personal injury victims to understand this legal principle and its potential impact on their claims. At The Law Office of Ben Evan, we are committed to providing the Upper Marlboro, Maryland community with educational, informative, helpful, and unique content focusing on personal injury law. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of comparative negligence, its role in Maryland personal injury cases, and the importance of retaining an experienced attorney to navigate complex liability issues.

Comparative negligence considers the degree of fault shared by each party involved in an accident to determine the appropriate compensation. In Maryland, the specific rule applied is known as “contributory negligence,” a somewhat strict doctrine that may bar a plaintiff from recovering any compensation if they are found to be even partially responsible for their own injuries. Understanding the nuances of comparative negligence and its implications on your personal injury claim is vital for formulating a strategic approach to your case and maximizing your chances of success.

In the following discussion, we will delve into the fundamentals of comparative negligence, its role in Maryland’s personal injury cases, and the potential challenges it may present. We will also explore the benefits of working with an experienced attorney to navigate the complexities of this legal doctrine, protecting your rights and securing the fair compensation you deserve.

I. Understanding Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence apportions liability among accident parties based on their degree of fault:

1. Pure Comparative Negligence: Some states follow this rule, allowing injured parties to recover damages proportionate to their percentage of fault, even if they are more than 50% responsible.

2. Modified Comparative Negligence: This rule permits recovery only if the plaintiff’s degree of fault does not exceed a certain threshold, typically 50%.

3. Contributory Negligence: A few states, including Maryland, follow this strict doctrine, which bars plaintiffs from any compensation if they are found even partially at fault for their injuries.

II. The Impact of Comparative Negligence on Maryland Personal Injury Cases

Maryland’s contributory negligence doctrine presents unique challenges for personal injury claimants:

1. Complete Bar to Recovery: Injured parties who bear even a minimal degree of responsibility for their accidents may be rendered ineligible for compensation.

2. Increased Defense Tactics: Insurance companies and opposing parties may attempt to shift some blame onto the plaintiff, aiming to avoid liability and prevent a financial payout.

3. Complex Legal Analysis: Establishing fault in contributory negligence states often requires extensive legal analysis and a strategic approach to building a strong case.

III. Navigating Comparative Negligence with an Experienced Attorney

Working with a skilled personal injury attorney can significantly impact the outcome of cases involving comparative negligence in Maryland:

1. Liability Investigation: A knowledgeable attorney will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, and present a strong case for your lack of fault or minimal contribution.

2. Disputing Defense Claims: Your lawyer will be prepared to refute defense tactics that attempt to shift blame onto you by leveraging their experience and command of the facts.

3. Expert Testimony: In complex cases, an attorney may enlist experts to help establish fault or counter defendant allegations related to your contributory negligence.

4. Settlement Negotiations: An experienced attorney will adeptly negotiate with insurance companies or opposing parties to secure a fair settlement on your behalf.

IV. Tips for Protecting Your Rights in Contributory Negligence Cases

To minimize the impact of Maryland’s contributory negligence rule on your case, take the following steps:

1. Remain Cautious in Communications: Avoid providing statements that could be construed as admissions of fault when speaking with other parties or their insurance representatives.

2. Gather Evidence: Collect and preserve all evidence related to your accident, including photographs, witness statements, and documentation that supports your version of events.

3. Seek Medical Attention: Promptly visit a healthcare professional, and fully comply with their recommendations to demonstrate the seriousness of your injuries and the extent of your damages.

4. Consult with an Attorney: Seek the guidance of a skilled personal injury attorney as early as possible to receive tailored advice on protecting your rights and navigating the complexities of comparative negligence.


Navigating the personal injury claim process in Maryland, a contributory negligence state, can be challenging and may significantly impact your ability to recover compensation for your injuries. However, by retaining an experienced attorney from The Law Office of Ben Evan, you can ensure that your case receives the attention, and resources required to overcome the hurdles that Maryland’s contributory negligence doctrine presents.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact The Law Office of Ben Evan in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, for guidance and representation from a team of dedicated personal injury attorneys. We are committed to pursuing justice for our clients, and our in-depth understanding of Maryland’s comparative negligence laws ensures that we can skillfully navigate even the most complicated personal injury cases.

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