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If you or a loved one has recently had a car accident in Washington, D.C., you may be wondering what your legal options are. If you have additional costs left over after insurance, you may be eligible to file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent party to receive further compensation for your injuries. Contact LegalFinders today if you are looking for a Washington D.C. car accident lawyer.
A car accident can be terrifying and has the potential to cause life-threatening injuries and even result in the loss of a loved one. On top of that, the legal aftermath can be stressful and intimidating.
By seeking professional legal assistance after an accident, you can reduce your stress and greatly improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve by filing a claim or lawsuit.
If you are located in Washington, D.C. or nearby Maryland or Virginia, you can contact LegalFinders for a free case evaluation to connect with a top car accident lawyer.
The driver who is considered at fault in a Washington, D.C. car accident is the one whose negligent actions or carelessness caused the accident.
Oftentimes, more than one motorist can be considered negligent, and in some cases, there are no drivers that are negligent. In these cases, the accident was instead caused by something like a road blockage or a faulty piece of machinery in the vehicle.
Washington, D.C. is an area that has no-fault car insurance, however, so who the at-fault driver does not necessarily matter in many auto accidents.
The at-fault driver is not always liable in a Washington, D.C. auto accident, because in order to be found liable they must also be found negligent.
Fault can exist without negligence if the accident was out of a driver’s control or not due to any careless or thoughtless action.
Further, because Washington, D.C. is a no-fault district, fault, and negligence only come into account after personal injury protection insurance thresholds have been met.
After you have filed a claim with your own insurance company and received compensation from them, you may still have a lot of expenses left over.
This is because insurance companies only pay for your expenses up to a certain threshold, and they also only pay for certain types of expenses.
In this case, you may choose to file a car accident claim to receive full compensation for your injuries and damages.
If your claim does not reach a settlement outside of court, your next legal option would be to file a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault party.
In the days and weeks following your car accident, you can take the following steps to file a claim in Washington, D.C.
There is usually a lot going on in the direct aftermath of a car accident, and you will likely have a lot on your plate and may even need medical attention.
Still, it is very important to do what you can in gathering evidence while you are still at the scene.
Important pieces of evidence to be collected from the accident scene may include:
In the weeks following your accident, you’ll also need to gather medical records, the police report for your accident, and other documentation.
One of your first steps after a car accident in Washington, D.C. should be to call a personal injury attorney who specializes in car accident cases.
They can provide you with legal guidance right from the very start, as well as prevent you from saying anything at the scene of the accident that might hurt your claim or lawsuit.
Your car accident attorney can help you file your accident claim, so you can focus on healing and recovering from your accident.
They can also help to ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines, including your final deadline to file your claim as stated by the statute of limitations.
Negotiating a fair settlement will involve a lot of back-and-forth communication between your lawyer and the lawyer of the other party.
A settlement cannot be reached unless both parties are able to agree on a fair and just award amount.
Most car accident claims do settle outside of court, but on rare occasions, they do not. In these instances, your next step may be to file a car accident lawsuit.
In court, your car accident attorney will serve as your legal representation and fight for you until a verdict is reached.
While court verdicts tend to be higher than claim settlements, this is still likely a situation that both you and your lawyer will try to avoid.
No-fault car insurance only covers the victim’s medical bills and lost wages from income, so any other damages, such as pain and suffering, would have to be part of a personal injury claim.
Common damages that can be cited in car accident claims and lawsuits may include:
Car accidents can cause both minor and serious injuries. They can also affect people both physically and mentally.
All mental and physical injuries that occur as a result of a car accident should be taken seriously and listed as part of an accident claim.
Common accident injuries listed on Washington, D.C. auto accident claims include:
Car accidents are usually caused by some type of negligence or carelessness, though they come in many different forms and levels of severity.
Some car wrecks are caused by conditions that are outside of any driver’s control and are unavoidable.
Common causes of car accidents in Washington, D.C. may include:
There are a few different legal factors which could have an effect on your personal injury claim in Washington, D.C.
With no-fault insurance laws, a person must first file an insurance claim with their own insurance company in order to collect compensation for injuries from an accident.
In order to then file a personal injury claim, a certain threshold must have been met by the insurance company in terms of coverage of the accident.
The statute of limitations for accident victims to file personal injury claims in Washington, D.C. is three years. This period starts on the date of which the accident or injury occurred.
If you fail to file your claim or lawsuit before this three-year period ends, you may lose your ability to receive compensation.
A contributory negligence principle states that a plaintiff cannot collect any damages if they contributed to an accident in any way, even if they are only found to be 1% negligent.
This type of negligence principle is very rare and is only found in the District of Columbia and four other states.
While motor vehicle accident statistics are not currently available for the area of D.C. specifically, the following numbers were reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2020 crash data report.
2020 statistics for car accidents in the United States include:
Total car accidents
People injured in car accidents
Fatalities from car accidents
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that people have after a car accident in Washington, D.C.
The average settlement amount for a car accident claim settlement is around $15,000 to $16,000 for accidents that involve bodily injury.
For accidents that only involve property damage, the average settlement is much lower, between $3,000 and $4,000.
After you have had a car accident in Washington, D.C., you will need to hire a car accident lawyer, which is a type of personal injury lawyer.
Personal injury law firms handle many practice areas and types of accidents in addition to car accidents, including dog bites, slip and fall accidents, birth injuries, and truck and motorcycle accidents.
Yes, you can sue someone for a car accident in Washington, D.C.. However, this would not be your first step.
Because Washington, D.C. is a no-fault state for car insurance, people must file claims with their own insurance companies first before seeking a claim or lawsuit with the negligent party.
Most car accident lawyers in Washington, D.C. work on a contingency fee basis and do not collect any payments unless your case reaches a settlement.
After your case reaches a settlement or verdict, your lawyer will then take a percentage of the award, usually between 33% and 40%.
Hiring the right auto accident attorney can make all the difference in your car accident claim or lawsuit, and LegalFinders can help you find them.
We work with only the best personal injury lawyers in the nation, many of which are currently taking cases and offering legal advice and free consultations to potential clients.
To sign up for an initial consultation of your own and to be referred to a law firm with experienced attorneys serving the D.C. area, contact LegalFinders today.
Cornell Law School. “Comparative negligence.” Retrieved from: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/comparative_negligence. Accessed on March 17, 2023.
Council of the District of Columbia. “§ 31–2404. Personal injury protection.” Retrieved from: https://code.dccouncil.gov/us/dc/council/code/sections/31-2404.html. Accessed on March 17, 2023.
U.S. Department of Transportation. “Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes in 2020.” Retrieved from: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813266. Accessed on March 17, 2023.