Maryland lawyers who litigate car and truck accidents have a new tool at their disposal thanks to the Maryland Legislature’s imminent passage of a ban on handheld cell phones while driving. The new law will make it illegal for a motorist to text or talk on a cell phone while driving, unless connected to a bluetooth device.
Plaintiff’s lawyers can be expected to try to use violation of this statute as evidence of negligence. Defense attorneys will also focus on using violation of this statue to prove the plaintiff was contributorily negligent. One would suspect that defense attorneys and insurance companies will reap the most benefit from the new law.
It has often been the law in Maryland that violation of a statue is evidence of negligence. It has also been the law of Maryland that if a plaintiff is found to be one percent negligent, the plaintiff is one hundred percent barred from any recovery. This is called contributory negligence. Defense attorneys will likely focus on violation of this statue to salvage what may otherwise be a lost cause. In any event, I can see attorneys on both sides focusing on cell phone records and issuing thousands of subpoenas for records during discovery. The bill may help make Maryland roads safer but it is going to kill allot of trees!