Overview – TorkLaw Washington D.C.
If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury in Washington, D.C., it is important to hire qualified Washington DC personal injury lawyers. With good legal help, you can file a lawsuit and seek compensation from the negligent party.
Here is a look at the personal injury laws as applicable to all the personal injury claims in Washington, D.C.
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Brain Injuries
- Dog Bites
- Product Liability
- Slip and Falls / Trip and Falls
- Truck Accidents
- Wrongful Death
Statute of Limitations in Washington D.C.
The statute of limitations is a legal time limit defined by state laws. For personal injury lawsuits, the statute is set at three years in Washington, D.C. This means that if you sustain a personal injury due to the negligence of another person or entity, you will have three years to file a lawsuit for compensatory damages. The statute period is counted from the date of the incident and injury.
It is critically important to file a personal injury lawsuit within this period. If you file a lawsuit after the statute has expired, the court will dismiss it and your lawsuit will end before it has even begun.
Another point to consider is that the statute ‘pauses’ or stops in some cases. These are exceptional cases with unique circumstances that are relatively rare. Still, it is helpful to consult Washington DC personal injury lawyers on whether or not your lawsuit qualifies as an exception of this kind.
The statute can also be briefer in some cases. If your injury was caused by an entity or employee of the city government, you have only six months to file a claim. In such a scenario, a different set of rules will apply.
Contributory Fault Rule in Washington, D.C.
Unlike many other states with more flexible fault rules, Washington, D.C. has a relatively harsh contributory fault rule. This rule usually works against claimants in a personal injury lawsuits. According to this rule, you can seek damages in a personal injury case only if you bear zero percent of the fault. If the court finds that you share even 1% of the fault, you are automatically disqualified from getting any compensatory damages.
As an example, consider this scenario: you are driving on a major road in Washington, D.C. You are a little above the designated speed limit in the area. Another driver runs a red light and hits you as you are crossing an intersection. The negligence and fault of the other driver is obvious, so you file a claim to get damages. However, when the court finds that you were speeding at the time of the crash, you are assigned a portion of the fault no matter how small. This prevents you from getting any damages at all.
Contributory fault rule of Washington, D.C. is routinely used by the courts as well as insurance companies when handling personal injury cases.
In Washington, D.C. a No-Fault Area?
Fault or no-fault are terms that are used in the context of auto insurance. They are relevant to your personal injury lawsuit if you sustained the injury in an auto-accident. In a fault system, you seek compensatory damages from the insurer of the negligence driver. In a no-fault system, you file the claim and receive damages from your own insurance company.
Washington, D.C. follows a no-fault law. This means that if you are injured in an auto accident within the city, you must seek compensation from your own insurer. The damages for your losses are essentially paid by your insurance coverage.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however. If you suffer a substantial impairment that prevents you from performing daily activities or permanent disfigurement, you have the legal right of suing the other driver. This option is also available if the medical bills from your injury exceed the no-fault coverage offered by your insurance.
It is best to consult qualified Washington DC personal injury lawyers after an auto accident injury in the city. A good attorney will advise you on whether you should seek damages from your own insurer or file a claim against the negligent party.
Components of a Personal Injury Claim
There are two key components of a personal injury claim, especially in context of Washington, D.C. laws. These are liability and damages.
Liability refers to the legal obligation of a person or entity. For instance, a driver on the road has a legal responsibility to drive responsibly in order to prevent an accident. When an injury occurs due to the negligence of the driver, he or she is held liable for the injury. This is the first part of a personal injury lawsuit. You or your legal counsel must demonstrate that the other party was liable for your injury and related losses.
Once liability is established, it is time to look at the damages. Damages refer to the sum of money that is legally proportionate to the negligence of the liable party and to your loss. In general, damages in a personal injury lawsuit can be of the following types:
- Compensatory Damages: This type of damages is aimed at compensating the injured party for the material losses.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are imposed by a court as a punishment for the wrongdoing of a person or entity in causing injury to the victim. This type of damages is typically involved where an injury is intentionally caused by the negligent party.
How Can Washington DC Personal Injury Lawyers Help You?
If you have sustained a personal injury or a loved one has been injured due to someone’s negligence, we can help you. Our qualified attorneys will help you prepare a solid claim at the earliest and file it against the negligent party without any delays. We also help calculate a fair compensation for your injury or loss. This enables you to demand a fair amount of damages and prevent insurance companies from underpaying you for your losses. A lawyer is also immensely important when your case goes to a court and you have to prove your right to damages. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our attorneys.