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Three ways to counter contributory negligence arguments

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

You might face a number of challenges as you navigate a personal injury case. If you don’t know how to appropriately address these issues, then your claim could be at risk. This means that without thorough preparation and aggressive advocacy, you may be denied the compensation that you need and deserve.

If you want to avoid that sort of outcome, then you might want to familiarize yourself with some of the strongest defense options that you might confront and learn more about how to effectively counter them.

Maryland’s law on contributory negligence

One of the strongest defenses oftentimes utilized in motor vehicle accident cases is contributory negligence. Here, the defense argues that your own negligent behavior contributed to the accident. If the defense is successful in showing that you were to blame for the accident, even on a minuscule scale, then your claim will likely be denied.

Only a handful of states across the country recognize this theory of contributory negligence, as the vast majority have adopted a comparative negligence approach. In a comparative negligence (or “comparative fault”) approach, a plaintiff’s recovery is reduced, rather than barred, when he or she is found to be partially at fault.

How to protect yourself from contributory negligence arguments

Since a contributory negligence defense can quickly derail your case in Maryland and deny your ability to recover compensation, you should anticipate having to fight back against contributory negligence arguments.

But how do you do that? Here are a few tips that we hope that you’ll find helpful as you navigate your claim:

  1. Analyze your driving actions: Before moving forward with your case, you need to thoroughly analyze the circumstances of your case. Sure, you’ll want to try to identify how the other driver’s negligence caused your wreck, but you’ll also want to put your own driving behaviors under the microscope. After all, that’s exactly what the defense is going to do. Be honest with yourself so that you and your attorney can identify the weaknesses of your case and address them appropriately.
  2. Attack witness credibility: Regardless of the facts, the defense’s witnesses might claim that they observed you acting in a negligent fashion, whether that be speeding or failing to stop at a traffic light. Regardless of what they testify to, you may be able to minimize or completely discount their testimony if you can attack their credibility. This may require you to take depositions and then use that depositional testimony to point out inconsistencies in their trial testimony.
  3. Secure expert testimony: A lot of car accident cases are he-said, she-said situations where you and your witnesses testify in one way and the defense and their witnesses testify another way. But an unbiased expert who can thoroughly analyze the facts of your accident and apply the laws of physics may be able to give you the concrete opinion that you need to support your claim and disprove arguments of contributory negligence.

Aggressively fight to protect your interests

As you can see, your personal injury case can be quite delicate, and one wrong turn may leave you facing financial difficulties as you struggle to recover from your accident injuries. But there are steps that you can take to try to make your case as strong as possible.

One of those steps is discussing your circumstances with an attorney who knows how to navigate these kinds of cases and advocate for those who have been hurt in a car accident.