Maryland Court Upholds Contributory Negligence Law

By BRIAN WITTE | July 11, 2013

Maryland’s highest court has upheld a law that prevents someone from recovering damages in a lawsuit if they are found to be partly at fault.

In a 5-2 ruling Tuesday, the Court of Appeals declined to change Maryland’s doctrine of contributory accident

Retired Judge John Eldridge wrote in the majority that attempts to change the law have failed in recent years. He wrote that it would be inconsistent with the court’s standing jurisprudence to change the law after the General Assembly’s repeated refusal to do so.

But Judge Glenn Harrell noted that Maryland is one of only four states that still have a contributory negligence law. Other states have comparative negligence laws that reduce damages a plaintiff can collect in proportion to his or her degree of fault.

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