It can be much harder in Maryland to recover compensation for the injuries you suffer in a car accident. This is because Maryland uses contributory negligence law, meaning if you are even slightly responsible for causing the accident, you might not be able to collect any compensation.
In comparison, many other states let injured parties collect compensation as long as their responsibility for the accident was under 50 percent. They receive reduced damages by the amount of fault. For example, in a $100,000 compensation case where the injured party is 30 percent responsible, the person would collect $70,000. In Maryland, that person could get nothing.
Seat belt usage
So, if you suffered an injury in a car accident and were not wearing your seat belt, it stands to reason to believe that it is useless to try to seek compensation. After all, if you had been wearing your seat belt, you may have, in theory, avoided or made less serious your injuries. Plus, the state requires that drivers and passengers wear seat belts.
However, Maryland law makes clear that it is not contributory negligence to not wear a seat belt. There are a few other exceptions too. For instance, if the person causing your injuries had one last chance to avoid the accident but did not take it, the person could be fully responsible.
The cause(s) of the accident
According to Maryland law, whether people were wearing their seat belts is not an issue in who or what caused a car accident. Say that you another car sideswiped you while trying to beat a red light or that another car rear-ended you. The accidents would have happened regardless if you had your seat belt on. The way the law sees it, your injuries the person found responsible for the accident caused your injuries, not your failure to wear a seat belt. So, yes, it may be worth your while to seek compensation.