Maryland continues to follow outdated and strict contributory negligence laws that pose many challenges to accident victims. First, the state is one of the few jurisdictions that permit contributory negligence as a defense instead of comparative negligence. Other states calculate damages by calculating damages in proportion to the amount each party was at fault. Injury victims are more likely to be fairly compensated for injuries under the comparative negligence model. In contrast, the contributory negligence theory creates an “all or nothing” approach, and injury victims cannot recover if they are even 1% at fault for their injuries. These accidents can cause significant injuries, and fair compensation is necessary. As such, Maryland injury victims involved in an accident, especially a multi-vehicle accident, should contact an attorney to ensure that they secure the compensation they deserve.
For example, Maryland State Police described a multiple vehicle accident that resulted in several fatalities. Troopers responded to a report of a head-on collision in Westminster, Maryland. An initial investigation revealed that a Camaro was traveling east when it attempted to pass another car. While passing the vehicle, the Camaro slammed into another sedan. The Camaro driver and passenger and sedan driver suffered fatal injuries. The occupants of the third vehicle involved in the accident did not require immediate medical treatment. The accident is still under investigation; however, authorities believe that excessive speed was a factor in the incident.
This case brings up another critical issue in that Maryland wrongful death operates as two claims. The first claim is the wrongful death action, which asserts damages the person suffered because of the deceased person’s absence from the claimant’s life. The second action is a survival action, which allows compensation to the victim’s estate for the damages the victim incurred because of the accident up until they died.