Personal injury claims will require the skill and professionalism of an experienced attorney who has handled thousands of cases before. Attorney Raymond R. Jones has 18 years of legal experience and puts up an aggressive fight for all his clients. Whether you are facing the repercussions of a car accident or dog bite, the Law Offices of Raymond R. Jones can help.
Is It Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?
Yes, it is worth hiring a personal injury lawyer, should you be wondering. Hiring a skilled personal attorney with injury law experience in all stages of the court process can guide you to success for your case.
Schedule a free initial consultation with our personal injury lawyer in Washington D.C. to learn about how we can help you obtain the damages you deserve. Call (202) 640-2889 or contact us online.
The Statute of Limitations
Washington D.C. has a time limit, or statute of limitations, establishing how much time an injured person has to file a personal injury lawsuit in court. Under this law, individuals have 3 years from the date of the accident to file their claim. It is critical to keep this deadline in mind because a court will be unlikely to hear the case once the 3-year window closes.
Note that the statute of limitations is shortened for cases involving government employees. If the D.C. government or one of its employees played a role in causing a person’s injury, the plaintiff has only 6 months from the date of the incident to file a formal claim with the government.
No-Fault Car Insurance
The auto insurance system in the District of Columbia follows a “no-fault” rule, where drivers must seek compensation from their own insurance coverage regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Following a car accident, a driver will have to file a claim with their insurance provider under "personal injury protection (PIP)" coverage for their injuries resulting from an accident. If the injuries are severe and permanent, however, a driver can file a claim against the other driver, and if necessary, a lawsuit. Further, if the personal injury damages exceed a person’s insurance policy, they may also be able to recover the difference from either the other driver or their insurance company.
Drivers must first pursue a claim with their insurance, but they are permitted to step outside the confines of the no-fault system and pursue a claim against another driver if one of the following applies to their case:
- Substantial, permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Substantial and medically demonstrable impairment in performing daily activities
- Medically demonstrable impairment that prevents the injured person from performing daily activities for at least 180 days
- Medical bills that exceed the limits of all applicable no-fault insurance policies
Contributory Fault Car Accidents
In court claims for car accidents, the District of Columbia follows a contributory fault rule when a plaintiff shares some of the fault for the accident that resulted in the injury. Contributory fault is a particularly harsh rule, as it prevents an injured person from recovering full damages if they are found to share any measure of fault for the accident no matter how tiny the percentage.
For example, say a driver is driving a few miles per hour above the D.C. speed limit but an oncoming driver collides with them while making a turn. If, after evaluation, the court finds that the first driver’s fault is 10% and the other driver’s fault is 90%, the driver who is less at fault is still not entitled to damages. Under D.C.’s contributory fault law, the damage award automatically drops to zero once the court enters any finding of fault, so the filing party cannot obtain damages from any other at-fault party.
Dog Bite Cases
Washington D.C. does not have a specific statute addressing dog bite laws, but it follows a general rule of strict liability. In many states, dog owners are protected from injury liability the first time their dog injures someone if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous, often referred to as the "one bite" rule. In D.C., however, the owner may be held "strictly liable" for the dog bite, regardless of the animal's past behavior. Under strict liability, the dog owner is responsible for a personal injury caused by their dog whether or not it is the first offense or they had any knowledge of their dog’s viciousness.
If you have been injured in an accident, you have the right to take legal action within 3 years of the incident occurring. The law can be tricky to navigate, however, especially when car accident claims follow both a no-fault insurance policy and contributory fault court claim. The Law Offices of Raymond R. Jones can better help you approach the legal system and craft a strong case for your recovery and right to damage awards.
Contact our personal injury lawyer in Washington D.C. at (202) 640-2889 for a free consultation to learn more.
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