Car accidents are, unfortunately, a very common occurrence. However, most car accidents do not involve personal injury, meaning that no one was hurt during the accident -- instead, these types of accidents usually result in property damage only. Victims of car accidents may be compensated for property damage and for their personal injury, if applicable. Each state has different car accident compensation laws.
This article provides a brief overview of car accident compensation laws in the state of Maryland.
Maryland Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance
Below, you'll find a table breaking down important aspects of Maryland's car accident compensation laws, including limits on damages and the statute of limitations.
|Statute of Limitations
||Three years for most personal injury and property damage lawsuits (Title 5 § 101); one year for claims against the government.
|Limits on Damages
||Non-economic damages limited to $860,000 as of January 2022; which increases by $15,000 every year on October 1 (Title 11 § 108)
||Contributory negligence fault system
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
"At Fault" and "Contributory Negligence" Rules Apply
Like many states, Maryland is an "at fault" (often called a "tort") system for insurance claims. This means anyone seeking compensation from a car accident must show fault on the part of the other driver in order for his or her claim to be successful.
However, unlike most states, Maryland follows a harsh rule known as "contributory negligence." This rule states that if you were at all to blame for causing the accident -- even just 1% at fault -- you cannot recover any damages from the other driver who was 99% at fault. Therefore, in Maryland, you will want to be able to prove that the other driver is to blame while you did not contribute at all to causing the accident.
Other states follow the more lenient "comparative negligence" rule in apportioning liability. While Maryland follows the contributory negligence rule, many insurance policies do include personal injury protection (PIP) which will cover certain damages regardless of who is at fault.
Types of Damages Allowed in Maryland
Courts and insurance companies often divide the types of damages you can recover into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to more direct, specific costs you've sustained as a result of your injury or damage to property, like hospital stays and a new fender. Non-economic damages refer to the more abstract costs of an accident, like mental anguish or the loss of companionship with your spouse.
Examples of economic damages include:
- Car repairs or replacement
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of affection or companionship
Limits on Damages in Maryland
Maryland does have a cap on the amount of non-economic damages that may be awarded, and that amount changes every year. Additionally, claims are time-sensitive, as you have three years from the date of the accident to file most lawsuits in court (less if the claim is against a governmental entity such as the police or a city bus).
Get a Claim Evaluation from a Maryland Attorney
The harsh contributory negligence rule could prevent you from just compensation if you are unfamiliar with Maryland's car accident compensation laws. Additionally, calculating economic and non-economic damages can be tricky without the right damages cap information.
Learn more by getting a claim evaluation from an experienced Maryland attorney on the strength and amount of compensation available for your case.