Contributory negligence simply means that in addition to the party at fault, someone else contributed to the accident. For example, when an accident occurs, the question becomes whether both parties contributed to that accident, or whether one party was the primary cause of the accident. Maryland is a “contributory negligence state” because it considers contributory negligence when making a determination as to who is liable after an accident.
In contributory negligence states like Maryland, if the injured party was partially at fault, or in other ways contributed to the negligence, he or she is completely barred from any recovery (gets nothing). Even if they were just 0.0001% at fault, they will recover nothing from the other negligent party. This is contrary to the position in states that are referred to as “comparative negligence” states. In those states, even if a claimant is partially responsible for an accident, that claimant can still recover some compensation.
Maryland is only one of five states that actually use the contributory negligence rule. It is generally believed that this is a very unfair approach in dealing with claims, and in Maryland, the general trend is moving towards actually doing away with contributory negligence.
THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION
The statute of limitation simply means the time within which you must make your claim. Generally, for automobile accidents in Maryland, the claim must be brought within 3 years. Failure to make a claim within this time period will prevent you from ever doing so. However, this is not the only deadline to consider when dealing with automobile cases or injuries in Maryland. There is also a statute of limitation for personal injury protection (PIP) claims. Claims PIP in Maryland, must be brought within one year. There are also “notice” requirements for certain types of cases. For example, when claiming against a county, a municipality or the state, you have to satisfy a notice requirement. Failure to give the required notice within the time period, will invalidate any potential claim.