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How Fault is Determined? Different Types of Fault in Maryland

After being in a car accident, most people check to make sure if everyone is safe, but after that people start to wonder who was at fault in the accident. Determining negligence is important for the insurance agencies to know so they can figure out who is going to be paying for what.  Determining fault is not always as easy as it seems or sounds.

Who is at fault?

There are two ways car insurance works depending on what state you’re in. There is fault-based car insurance, and there is non fault-based car insurance. Most states, including Maryland, are fault-based. In a fault-based state, the negligent driver’s car insurance is who will typically be responsible for paying the car repairs, medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages of the other driver.

When it comes to the insurance company determining who was at fault in an accident, they will base their decision on the state’s legal definition of negligence. There are three types of negligence: comparative, modified comparative, and contributory. The State of Maryland, unfortunately, is one of the few states that follows “Pure Contributory Negligence.” This means that if you contributed in any way to the causing of the accident, you are barred from recovery.  Hypothetically, if your actions contributed to 10% of the cause of the accident, and the other driver contributed to 90% of the accident, then you are not entitled to recover a single penny.

If receive an offer from the at-fault driver’s insurance agency that is lower than what you feel you deserve, then you may hire a car accident injury lawyer and file a claim against the driver and their insurance agency. To win this claim, you and your attorney must prove in court the elements of a negligence case. These are:

  • Duty
    • You must prove the other part owed you a duty of care.
  • Breach of Duty
    • You must prove the other party failed to meet that duty
  • Cause in Fact
    • You must prove if it were not for the other party’s failure to meet their duty, you would not have been injured.
  • Proximate Cause
    • You must prove the other party’s failure to meet their duty, and not another factor, caused your injury.
  • Damages
    • You must prove that you have actually been injured and suffered some loss.

At the end of the day, the police report and a statement of the insurance company’s insured plays a large role in the insurance agency’s decision on who was at-fault. Gathering your own evidence and informing your insurance agency of this evidence will definitely help your case, and will play a huge role if you end up needing to take legal action.

If you, or someone you know, have been in a car accident, contact the car accident injury attorneys at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered. We are dedicated to helping you through this tough time by working hard at getting you what you deserve.



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