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Contributory Negligence: The Un-Lottery of Personal Injury – Part III

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Posted On 10.17.11 by in Blog

If you’re injured and seeking compensation, an adjuster might say you’re partly to blame and deny the claim. He’ll say you had a headlight out, or stopped too fast. Perhaps you’re not like J.D. (whose story is told in Part I and Part II), who wouldn’t take no for an answer. It’s so easy to get talked out of your rights. After all, they are the experts. They handle personal injury claims like yours every day.

But J.D. hired a personal injury lawyer–someone who was really on her side. It didn’t take long for the lawyer to gather evidence the insurance company didn’t bother to collect. Once a capable personal injury lawyer put the case together, the insurance company paid the claim. J.D. got a new wheelchair, and was able to get the therapy she needed. She regained her independence.

Insurance companies are expert at many things. One is selling insurance. Another is not paying claims if they can possibly find a way not to. They are not like your doctor or your personal injury lawyer, for whom the duty to help you is what comes first.

Contributory negligence (we sometimes call it contrib) deprives people of legitimate compensation. It’s an un-lottery for plaintiffs. One percent inattention on your own part, and no matter how good your case is against the other guy, no matter how drunk or sleepy he was, or how fast he was driving that tractor trailer in the dark, you and your family could lose out—that’s the law.

Plus, it’s a win for all insurers, regardless of whether the defendant holds a winning ticket. It’s always looming, affecting offers and settlements of perfectly legitimate claims. Contrib puts a stranglehold on the entire system.

Maryland is one of only five American jurisdictions* where nearly every wrongdoer holds this free un-lottery ticket. For insurers, it’s always payday. The best way to undo the Maryland un-lottery is to hire a reputable personal injury lawyer. That’s what J.D. did. For more, check our resources page.

*The others are D.C., Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia.

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