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Can the injured party in a Maryland car accident be compensated if they are slightly at fault?

Law Offices of Yu & Associates

If a car accident occurs in Maryland, and the driver who caused the accident is 99% at fault and the victim is only 1% at fault, can the victim be compensated?

First, let us introduce the relevant regulations. The minimum coverage that auto insurance companies are required to provide under Maryland law is:

  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident for personal injury liability to the other party;
  • $15,000 for property damage to the other party;
  • $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident. That is, if the driver who is at fault in the accident does not have auto insurance, the insurance company needs to compensate the insured.

Maryland is a state that uses the "fault" based insurance system. This is different from states that use the "no fault" insurance system, where both parties in the accident are responsible regardless of who caused the accident, and the parties receive compensation from their own insurance company. Since Maryland uses the principle of fault liability insurance, the at-fault party is liable for the losses of the other party. The at-fault party must compensate the injured party for medical expenses, lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering, and compensation for car damage. If the injury is serious enough and is identified as permanent damage, the victim can sue the other party for additional compensation. In Maryland, after a car accident, the injured party generally has three options for compensation: to claim compensation from their own insurance company; to claim compensation from the other party's insurance company; or to directly sue the other driver for compensation. Generally speaking, the most common strategy is for the injured party to first file a claim with the other party's insurance company with the help of an attorney. If the compensation provided by the insurance company does not cover the loss, the injured party will need to decide whether to pursue their claim against the other driver considering the circumstances, including the financial situation of the other party.

In Maryland, can a victim of a car accident be compensated if they were themselves at fault in the accident? The answer is no, because Maryland is one of the few states that implements the principle of Pure Contributory Negligence. Maryland, Alabama, North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Virginia are the five states where insurance companies pay compensation only if the injured party is entirely not at fault in a car accident. If the driver who caused the car accident can prove that the injured person was at least partially at fault, even if it was minor, the injured party may not be able to receive damages to cover medical costs and other expenses. For example, if your car is rear-ended, it should be very easy to place the blame on the other driver who hit your car, but if the other driver can prove that you were trying to get through a yellow light, and then braked suddenly causing the car accident, then you partly contributed to causing the accident, and you will not receive any compensation.

Dealing with car accident cases requires skills and experience. There are generally a variety of strategies and solutions. You need to think about whether to make a claim to the insurance company or the individual responsible for the accident, how to deal with it so that you can get the maximum compensation, etc. An attorney can work with you to analyze the details of the entire case, and discuss and determine a plan to help you make the claim successful in the end. You do not have to pay any attorneyí»s fees up front; our attorneys will help you with your case on a contingency basis, and you won't owe anything unless you receive compensation.

The above is a general introduction, and should not be construed as individual legal advice. For specific legal questions, please contact the Law Offices of Yu & Associates. Tel: 301-838-8986, Fax: 202-595-1918; E-mail: syu@yulegal.com, Address: 110 N. Washington St., Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850. (All rights reserved.)

Ó Yu & Associates LLC, 110 North Washington Street, Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850, USA. Tel: 301-838-8986