The Maryland legislature is considering joining the rest of the civilized world – okay, I’ll kill the hyperbole – the vast majority of jurisdictions in this country by adopting a comparative negligence standard in Maryland. The contributory negligence standard we currently have in Maryland is harsh to injury victims and creates real challenges for Maryland personal injury lawyers seeking justice for their clients. Under contributory negligence, the accident or medical malpractice victim’s failure to exercise due care which contributes even in the slightest way to plaintiff’s injuries is an absolute bar to recovery. Under this rule, even if the jury believed the plaintiff was only 1% at fault for his/her injuries, the plaintiff would be completely barred from recovering for those injuries.
All but 5 states have moved into the modern era and adopted contributory negligence. It would be a blessing for injury victims in Maryland if Maryland dropped that number down to 4.
The Maryland Gazette posted an interesting – albeit pro-business – article on Friday on this issue of Maryland reconsidering contributory negligence.