Weren’t Wearing A Seatbelt? Don’t Let That Stop You From Bringing A Maryland Personal Injury Claim
If you’ve been involved in an accident and have suffered injuries, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what your options are. This may be particularly true if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt, as required by Maryland law. However, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that while choosing not to wear a seatbelt does increase your chance of suffering injury in a car accident, it does not affect your ability to recover for injuries suffered, at least in Maryland courts.
Contributory Negligence in Maryland
Maryland is a pure contributory negligence state, which is quite rare. This means that when insurance companies and courts are assessing claims, they will evaluate the actions of both parties and make a determination as to how responsible each party was for ultimately causing the harm. If the suing party is found to have contributed in any way to their own injury, they will not be able to recover anything at all. That may seem harsh, and it is. Maryland is one of the only states in the country to practice this black-and-white form of negligence. If the suing party is found even 1% liable for an accident, they cannot recover for the injuries they suffered as a result of it.
For instance, if someone was driving a sedan while texting and hit a pedestrian walking on the wrong side of the road with their headphones in, the pedestrian may not be able to recover for their injuries at all if the court finds that by walking on the wrong side of the road (illegal because it prevents the pedestrian from seeing an potentially being seen by traffic) and/or listening to music (unable to hear upcoming traffic), the pedestrian contributed to the accident by even 1%.
Seatbelts and Contributory Negligence
Under Maryland law, it is a misdemeanor to drive or travel in a motor vehicle without a seatbelt. Additionally, it is very dangerous to drive without a seatbelt. For front-seat passengers alone, wearing a seatbelt reduced the risk of death by 45% and the risk of serious injury by 50%. As you can see, that could be a potential disaster when applied to a contributory negligence analysis. However, fortunately for seatbeltless Maryland drivers, wearing or not wearing a seatbelt cannot impact your personal injury standing or award. In fact, not wearing a seatbelt cannot even be considered in the contributory negligence analysis.
Talk to an Experienced Maryland Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been involved in a Maryland vehicle collision, it’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Maryland personal injury attorneys at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby, LLP, are prepared to zealously advocate on your behalf and ensure that you get the full amount of compensation that you are legally entitled to. Maryland has a statute of limitations on personal injury claims, so don’t wait any longer. Call today and schedule your free consultation.