Contributory Negligence in Car Accidents

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If you are in a car accident in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia, your lawyer will explain to you the concept of contributory negligence. Just because an accident is mostly the other driver’s fault does not mean that you will recover. Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia are three of the just six jurisdictions in the United States that recognize contributory negligence as an absolute defense in an auto accident case. In other words, even if the other driver is more negligent than you are, or even 99% negligent in comparison to your 1% negligent, you cannot prevail in an accident claim.

Understanding Negligence

Negligence is a departure from ordinary care. Examples of negligence include speeding, running a red light, failing to yield, weaving between lanes without signaling, or any other careless or reckless act. However, just because you were negligent does not mean that you are barred from a recovery. Your negligence in the accident must have been a proximate cause of the accident.

There are any number of circumstances where you may be negligent but your negligence did not proximately cause the accident. For example, it is not unusual for clients to have been slightly exceeding the speed limit at the time of an accident. However, the fact that the client was speeding in many cases is irrelevant to why the accident occurred. If the client is traveling at 65 mph instead of 55 mph and a car turns out in front of him, the accident was going to occur even if the client were traveling within the posted speed limit.

Even some circumstances that one might think are automatically contributory negligence are not necessarily so. A pedestrian can be outside of a crosswalk and not be contributorily negligent. All one has to demonstrate is that the pedestrian would have been hit regardless of whether they were in or out of the crosswalk.

Call Today for a Free Consultation

Even if your car accident case comes with a difficult set of facts, do not despair – our Washington DC car accident lawyers at Simeone & Miller, LLP may still be able to help. We are prepared to investigate the facts of your case to determine exactly what caused your accident. With our help, you may potentially still be able to obtain a recovery by filing a personal injury claim.

To speak with a Maryland, Virginia, or Washington DC car accident attorney, please contact us today at (202) 888-0872.