Maryland’s Contributory Negligence Law and How It Can Prevent an Accident Victim’s Recovery

Earlier this month, an appellate court in New York affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a 12-year-old boy who was struck by a car while riding his bicycle on a four-lane road. In the case, Turturro v. City of New York, the court ultimately denied the City’s challenge that it was entitled to governmental immunity. However, had this case arisen in Maryland, the jury would have been unable to award the plaintiff anything, due to a difference in the substantive law between the two states.

The Facts of the Case

Turturro was riding his bicycle on Gerritsen Avenue at around 6:30 in the evening. At the specific location where the accident occurred, the road was four lanes wide with two lanes in each direction, and the speed limit was 30 miles per hour. Turturro filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the driver as well as the City of New York.

Evidence presented at trial suggested that the motorist who struck Turturro was traveling at approximately 54 miles per hour. Turturro also presented evidence showing that the specific location where the accident occurred was a known high-risk area for speeding and drag racing. In fact, Turturro showed the jury several letters written by members of the community to the City, asking for something to be done about the problem.

After the trial, the jury determined that Turturro was 10% at fault for the accident, the City 40% at fault, and the driver 50% at fault. The City appealed the verdict, unsuccessfully arguing that it was entitled to government immunity. However, had this case arising in Maryland, the plaintiff would have been awarded nothing, due to Maryland’s application of the strict contributory negligence doctrine.

Contributory Negligence Bars Recovery for Many Personal Injury Plaintiffs

In most states, the fact that a plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident that caused their injuries will not act as a bar to recovery. Instead, the plaintiff’s recovery amount will simply be reduced by their own percentage of fault. However, in Maryland, that is not the case. Maryland law prevents an accident victim from recovering any financial compensation from other parties if the accident victim is even the slightest bit at fault for their own injuries.

The strict application of Maryland’s contributory negligence doctrine makes it even more important for accident victims to seek out a dedicated personal injury attorney to discuss their case and develop a strategy for financial recovery.

Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Motorcycle Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland motorcycle or bicycle accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. However, it is very likely that the named defendants will try to shift the blame to you, eliminating their own liability. The skilled injury attorneys at the Maryland law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience handling personal injury cases, and we know how to explain our clients’ cases to juries in hopes of maximizing the financial return. Call 410-654-3600 to set up a free consultation to discuss your case today. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation for you unless we can help you obtain the recovery you deserve.

More Blog Posts:

Twelve-Year-Old Girl Was Not Wearing a Helmet When She Was Struck and Killed by Passing Truck, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 5, 2017.

Fatal Bicycle Accident Will Not Result in Any Charges Being Filed Against Motorist, Maryland Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog, published December 20, 2016.

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