Typically, when someone is injured in a Maryland truck accident, to successfully recover for their injuries, the accident victim must be able to establish that the driver violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff, and that this violation was the cause of their injuries. In most cases, establishing that a duty was owed to an accident victim is straightforward because motorists owe all other motorists a duty of care to follow all traffic laws and safely operate their vehicle.
The determination of whether the defendant violated a duty that was owed to another driver, however, can be quite tricky in some circumstances. In fact, in many Maryland truck accident cases, this is the most contested issue because, although the standard is supposed to be an objective one, there is an element of subjectivity anytime a jury is asked to weigh in on another’s conduct.
Under the doctrine of negligence per se, however, if the defendant is found to have violated a qualifying statute, that defendant may be presumed to have been negligent. Thus, in these cases, courts look to the fact that the defendant violated a particular statute rather than try to determine whether the defendant breached a duty that was owed to the plaintiff. In other words, the law prescribes the defendant’s duty. This means that aside from showing the defendant violated the statute, the plaintiff must only show that the defendant’s violation of the statute was the proximate cause of their injuries.
Negligence per se typically applies to criminal statutes or those laws that are concerned with protecting the safety of citizens. For example, if someone is injured in a Maryland truck accident that was caused by a drunk driver, negligence per se may apply because the drunk-driving statute was passed to protect people from drunk drivers.
In Maryland, the more common approach taken by courts is that a violation of a statute will be considered evidence of negligence, but not necessarily negligence per se. The difference is that under Maryland’s approach, the defendant can present evidence to rebut a finding that the defendant was negligent. If the defendant is unable to do so, it is likely that the defendant will be found to have acted negligently. Thus, evidence that a defendant truck driver violated a traffic law is helpful to an injury victim’s case. Of course, even if a truck driver is not issued a citation, a Maryland injury victim can still pursue a claim based on traditional theories of negligence.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland truck accident, the dedicated injury lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC can help. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have extensive experience assisting our clients and their family members pursue claims for compensation against those who are responsible for their injuries. To learn more about how we can help you with your situation, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Who Is at Fault in Maryland Train Accidents?, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published February 6, 2019.
Expert Testimony in Maryland Truck Accidents, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published February 20, 2019.