If you’re a victim injured in a Maryland car accident and are pursuing a claim for compensation against the responsible party, you may be generally aware of what you need to prove in order to prevail. However, there are two sides to every case and you can be sure that the other driver’s insurance company will fight every step of the way. The legal team for the insurer will exploit every possible weakness in your case and present any defenses that may limit the amount of your financial recovery. While your Maryland car accident attorney will take responsibility for strategies to counter opposing counsel’s positions, you may find it useful to understand the defenses to liability in these types of cases.
Contributory Negligence: In many car accidents, there may be at least some degree of fault that can be attributed to you as the victim. If you were speeding, texting, or didn’t come to a complete stop at a traffic signal and your conduct was partly to blame in the collision, Maryland law is brutal: You are not entitled to any financial compensation for your losses. This legal concept is known as contributory negligence and even the slightest percentage of fault will act as a bar to your recovery.
Statute of Limitations: Under Maryland law, you have a limited time period to file a lawsuit for damages due to the injuries you suffer in a car accident. The time restriction is called the “statute of limitations,” and you have three years from the date of the accident to initiate litigation against the driver responsible for your injuries. Beyond that time period, you are barred from filing a lawsuit, though there are some limited exceptions to this rule.
Failure to Mitigate Damages: A person who is injured in a car accident must mitigate damages, which means you have a duty to not make your physical condition worse. Essentially, you shouldn’t engage in activities that could aggravate the injuries you sustained in the collision, such as walking on a broken leg or going back to work before you have fully healed. In addition, you should strictly follow your doctor’s orders about recovery and rehabilitation. If you act contrary to your doctor’s instructions and cause further harm, your financial recovery could be limited because you didn’t properly mitigate your damages.
The defenses presented by the responsible party are critical in a Maryland car accident case because they can reduce the amount of recovery you receive; even worse, a strong defense can eliminate any chance of obtaining compensation for your injuries. You need an attorney who has the experience to meet these challenges head on and fight for your rights, both in settlement negotiations with an insurance company and in court. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and would like to know more about your options, please contact Baltimore County attorney Michael A. Freedman. Our skilled attorneys are happy to answer your questions or schedule a consultation to discuss your case in more detail.
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