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By: Mary Ellen Flynn, Esq.

On Monday, September 10, 2012, oral arguments will be heard regarding Comparative Negligence vs. Contributory Negligence in the state of Maryland.

Currently, in Maryland, as well as Virginia, DC, North Carolina, and Alabama, if a person is found to be even 1% at fault in an accident, then they are exempt from any kind of financial recovery.

To put this in perspective, in all states where comparative negligence is adhered to, if a person is found to be 5% at fault in an accident, then any verdict awarded by a jury would be adjusted by that 5%.

Well, on Monday, September 10th, the case of Coleman v Soccer Association of Columbia will go before the Maryland Court of Appeals, where a person was injured when he grabbed the crossbar of a soccer goal and it collapsed on him. Mr. Coleman was seriously injured and the jury found the Soccer Association was negligent for failing to maintain their property, however since Mr. Coleman was found contributorily negligent, no damages were awarded. Comparative negligence forces businesses to establish more precautionary measures to avoid dangerous conditions which cause injuries.

A webcast of the oral argument, for replacing the current tenet of contributory negligence with a new comparative negligence doctrine, will air at 10AM on Monday.