Maryland is surprisingly harsh with its use of contributory negligence laws for car accidents. Read on to see how this state handles negligence differently than others, and how one of the talented car accident attorneys in Prince George’s County Maryland, at Timiam & Fawcett, LLC can help you navigate your next steps.

What happens if I am partially responsible for a car accident in Maryland?

Uniquely, the state of Maryland follows the law of contributory negligence. This means that if the other party in a car accident can show that you were even partially at fault, you cannot receive any compensation from their insurance company, even if they were the primary at-fault party and even if you have significant medical bills or lost wages.

This is different from most other states, which follow comparative negligence laws. These laws have the percentage of your fault correlated to your entitlement to damages. For example, if you were 20% at fault and the court awards $100,000, your compensation would be reduced by 20%, or $20,000, and you would still receive the remaining $80,000. But under the state of Maryland’s contributory negligence rule, you would receive $0 because you contributed to the accident.

How do I prove I am not at fault for a car accident?

Placing fault for a car accident is commonly done by proving traffic law violations by one party, such as running a red light, turning at a no-turn on red, speeding, or otherwise neglecting traffic signs.

Lastly, if you were partially at fault for the car accident, there are legal defenses and exceptions to Maryland’s contributory negligence rule that you can use. For one, there is the Last Clear Chance Doctrine, in which you can receive compensation if you can prove that the other party had a last clear chance to avoid the crash but did not do so. There is also the seat belt exception, where simply not wearing your seat belt cannot be used as the sole evidence of contributory negligence.

If either of these is applicable to you, do not hesitate in reaching out to one of the proficient Prince George’s County motor vehicle accident attorneys today to help you fight for the financial compensation you rightfully deserve. It is important to retain the services of an attorney before the statute of limitations, which is three years from the date of your accident for personal injury claims in the state of Maryland, to prevent you from being barred from filing a claim.


If you are injured due to another party’s negligence, you must reach out to one of our knowledgeable attorneys. At Timian & Fawcett, LLC, we provide effective legal services to clients in Prince George’s County, Washington, D.C. and all of Maryland. Our firm is dedicated to assisting our clients. If you need our help, we are ready to serve. Contact Timian & Fawcett, LLC.