The Baltimore Sun reports that the collapse of a soccer goal has led Maryland’s highest court to reconsider their unusual legal standards. Montlick and Associates applauds this effort, which would allow the victims of personal injuries to win lawsuits, even if they have a role in the accident.
In 2008, reports an article in The Baltimore Sun, an accident occurred during a soccer practice in Howard County, Maryland. Twenty-year-old Kyle Coleman was taking warm-up shots at an empty goal, and grabbed its crossbar as he passed underneath to retrieve a ball. The goal fell over onto him, crushing the bones around his eye.
A Howard County jury found that the Soccer Association of Columbia, who ran the practice, was at fault in Coleman’s injury, not having properly secured the goal. But, since the jury found that Coleman was at least partly responsible for the accident, he received no payout. His lawyers appealed, and the Court of Appeals recently heard two hours of argument on Maryland’s contributory negligence standard.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Maryland is one of only four states that bar accident victims from winning lawsuits if they had any role, no matter how minor, in an accident. The article says that most courts allow juries to assign responsibility to each party involved, and award damages accordingly.
Those who want a reversal believe Maryland should recognize that injured people, even those who are partially responsible for their injuries, should have a chance to recover damages if the other party is more at fault. The Georgia law firm of Montlick and Associates, which limits its practice to personal injury law, supports this belief.
Georgia is one of 46 states who allow juries to award damages based on the fault of the parties involved. If you are less than 50% at fault, you are still entitled to a financial recovery, although the amount of compensation you are entitled to is reduced to the extent you contributed to your injuries. Montlick and Associates believes that even if a plaintiff has played a small part in their injury, they should be able to receive reasonable compensation, if only to cover hospital bills and other expenses.
The Maryland standard was adopted as a result of an 1847 case called Irwin v. Spriggs, where the plaintiff fell through an opening near a cellar window. The defendant argued that had the plaintiff been more careful, he would not have been hurt. The doctrine, which is 165 years old, has remained even as the 46 other states evolved their standards.
It should also be noted that most states block people from receiving payouts if they are more than half at fault. If Coleman’s case had been heard under that scheme, says The Baltimore Sun, the jury may have decided he was 20 percent at fault for his injury, but he could still have been awarded 80 percent of any judgment.
The high court allowed outside parties to present arguments in court during the appeal, says the article. Lawyers agree this indicates that the high court is taking deliberations seriously. If the law is changed, there will, of course, be far-reaching consequences for injured parties and defendants alike.
Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at law’ legal team includes 32 lawyers who are dedicated to providing exceptional service and personal attention to injured people. They have served the entire state of Georgia and the Southeast since 1984.