The Maryland Court of Appeals has upheld contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine which totally bars an injured person from recovering in a tort action if the injured person is partially at fault. This bar applies even if the injured party is a small percentage at fault for the injury. Insurance companies love contributory negligence because it allows them to get out of paying money to injured parties if they can prove contributory negligence.
Two judges on the Maryland Court of Appeals favored discarding the doctrine of contributory negligence in favor of comparative negligence.
In a 51-page dissent, Judge Glenn T. Harrell Jr. compared the current standard known as contributory negligence to a dinosaur that he said should be rendered extinct with “the force of a modern asteroid strike.”http://www.washingtonpost.com/...
Harrell, who was joined by recently retired chief judge Robert M. Bell, said the court has the power and the responsibility to depart from its previous 30-year-old ruling. He said Maryland should join 46 other states with systems that reduce a plaintiff’s compensation in proportion to his or her relative fault.
In upholding contributory negligence, the Maryland Court of Appeals indicated that it was up to the Maryland legislature to decide whether to keep contributory negligence or to adopt a standard of comparative negligence.
It is not our task to invade the province of the General Assembly and enact into law a sweeping revision,” according to the concurring opinion of Judge Clayton Greene Jr., who was joined by three colleagues.
Previous attempts to change this in the legislature have failed, most likely due to the strength of the insurance lobby.
The Maryland Court of Appeals is the highest Court in the State of Maryland. So its decision is final.
Maryland has in recent years enacted progressive legislation such as a gay marriage, the Maryland DREAM Act, and the assault weapons ban. It would be nice to see our elected officials in Annapolis stand up to the insurance company lobby and join 46 other states who have rejected to the doctrine of contributory negligence.