If you were involved in a car accident, you may automatically believe that the at-fault driver will be held responsible for your injuries and expenses. Don’t fall victim to a false sense of security! Your case against them will not necessarily prevail in court, even if the defendant was clearly at fault. Defendants and their attorneys are armed with many complex and sophisticated arguments in their favor. Car accident defense in Maryland is a complicated matter. We have put together this article explaining some of the most common defenses and the ways you can protect yourself in court.
Car Accident Defense In Maryland
It is very important to remember that individuals do not often present their own car accident defense in Maryland. The other people who were involved in the car accident will not be representing themselves in court.
Since most drivers carry some form of automobile insurance, their insurance company will defend the lawsuit and will be very concerned with the auto accident worth. These companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying for damages, so you can be sure they will mount a strong case against you. Their ultimate goal is to prove that their client was not at fault for the accident. Fighting an insurance company can be a tough battle, so it’s important to have all the facts and know the law before you go to court.
Here are a few of the arguments that insurance companies may use to defend at-fault drivers in Maryland:
- Contributory negligence
- Assumption of risk
- Medical emergencies
Insurance companies and their attorneys can utilize many complex defenses, depending on the facts of the case. You can count on them using every single defense at their disposal. It is best to arm yourself with a thorough knowledge of these defenses, so that you are better able to prepare for them in court. Choosing an auto accident attorney is also an important part of this process. You can find a more thorough explanation of each of these defenses in the sections below.
Maryland is one of only a handful of states that has retained the old common law doctrine of contributory negligence. This car accident defense in Maryland does not allow victims to recover damages after an accident if they showed any negligence. Even if that negligence was very minimal, the victim is not permitted to recover any damages. The vast majority of states use a doctrine called “comparative negligence,” which weighs the actions of each driver and awards compensation based on their relative faults.
Unfortunately, Maryland’s contributory negligence system can lead to very unfair results for an injured victim. For instance, if you were struck by another driver but happened to be looking down at your cell phone at the time, the defense might attempt to argue that you helped cause the accident. If their argument is successful, their client cannot be prosecuted for the accident.
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Another car accident defense in Maryland that an at-fault driver may raise is that something other than their negligence caused your injuries. For example, they may try to claim that you had a pre-existing condition that caused the injuries that you are presently claiming. If you claim that you sustained a back injury, the defense may attempt to prove that you were already experiencing back pain before the accident occurred.
Assumption of Risk
It is theoretically possible for the defense to utilize the “assumption of risk” doctrine as a car accident defense in Maryland. To effectively utilize this defense, the victim must have knowingly and voluntarily done something to put themselves at risk in the accident. For example, a passenger who knowingly gets into a car with a drunk driver may have assumed the risk that comes from that decision, despite the driver’s obvious negligence.
An at-fault driver may be able to avoid liability if the accident was brought on by a sudden medical emergency outside of their control. For example, if the at-fault driver had a sudden and unforeseen heart attack behind the wheel, which then led to an accident, then they may be found to have not been negligent. If this car accident defense in Maryland is successful, the victim is often never compensated for their injuries despite the fact that they are a completely blameless victim.
If all of this sounds complicated, don’t worry! The experienced attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law are here to explain car accident defense in Maryland in full and fight for your compensation with every resource at their disposal. To speak with a qualified attorney and schedule your free initial consultation, call 410-753-4611 today.