What is an Example of Contributory Negligence? Does It Mean I Lose My Case?
Seasoned Baltimore personal injury and accident lawyers have seen the law imposes a duty on every driver to see everything they should have seen [even if they didn't] had "they properly exercised his faulty of vision". Colmes v. Zamoiski, 294 A.2d 120. There, the court noted that a driver who fails to see what they should have is essentially the same as a blind person operating that vehicle.
If that driver fails to perceive something that they should have perceived, and that failure causes or contributes to an automobile accident, then that failure is considered negligence [and contributory negligence if that person is a plaintiff].
These cases are typically highly dependent on the particualr facts of each situation. The obligation to act cautiously exists even in the face of seemingly clear negligence, e.g. a car is stopped on the highway without flashers. Baltimore personal injury and accident lawyers are aware, however, that the presence of fog, smoke, rain, snow and the like may excuse the failure to perceive in a given circumstance. While it is commonly believed that following a vehicle too closely, and then failing to stop in time to avoid an accident, is a classic example of actionable negligence, a court has determined that the action of the front driver in signaling, veering to the right, then left, before impact, is sufficiently negligent conduct to bar any recovery from the driver of the striking vehicle.
Contributory negligence is a harsh and unforgiving concept. Most states left this doctrine behind years ago. Maryland continues to adhere to it, and Maryland courts continue to deny financial recovery to those injured by the negligence of others if they contribute the accident in the slightest of ways. An experienced personal injury attorney can navigate these treacherous waters for you. A knowledgeable attorney is aware of the exceptions to the rule, and the most persuasive arguments around them.
This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 10/15/19.