Too often, car accidents result in severe injury, property damage, or both. In a busy city like Washington, D.C., heavy traffic can lead to vehicle collisions and other crashes on the road. However, recovering damages after a car accident in D.C. can be complicated. A D.C. personal injury attorney can walk you through the complex D.C. laws that govern negligence suits.
As a recent news article reported, a D.C. car accident near the National Zoo injured seven people. The accident occurred when four vehicles collided, shutting down Connecticut Avenue NW. The collision left several people trapped in their vehicles. Seven people were transported to the hospital, three of whom suffered life-threatening injuries. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.
How Can You Recover Damages After a D.C. Car Accident?
If you suffered injuries after a D.C. car accident, you may be able to recover monetary damages by bringing a negligence lawsuit. To prevail on a negligence claim, an injured plaintiff must prove the defendant owed them a duty of care, breached that duty through their negligent action or failure to act, caused the accident through the defendant’s negligence and that the plaintiff suffered injuries as a consequence. Under D.C. law, plaintiffs can recover damages to compensate for expenses related to their injuries, such as medical bills. In some cases, they can also recover damages related to emotional pain and suffering. Finally, a plaintiff’s spouse can claim damages related to the loss of the plaintiff’s companionship. This type of damages claim is referred to as loss of consortium.
Can You Recover Damages for a D.C. Car Accident if You Are at Fault?
Unfortunately, you cannot recover damages if a jury or judge finds that you were at fault for the accident. D.C. is one of the few places in the United States that follows a legal doctrine known as contributory negligence. Under this legal principle, if a plaintiff is even one percent at fault for the accident, the plaintiff cannot recover any damages. D.C. law carves out narrow exceptions from its contributory negligence law for “vulnerable users.” This term refers to people who use bicycles, mobility devices, and skateboards, among other devices that are not cars or trucks. Vulnerable users involved in crashes with motor vehicles, pedestrians, and other vulnerable users can recover damages even if they were partially at fault. However, their proportion of fault must be less than all other defendants. In other words, vulnerable users can recover damages so long as they were less than 50% at fault for the accident. An experienced D.C. personal injury lawyer can help you understand these complex rules around fault to put your best case forward.
Do You Need a D.C. Car Accident Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a D.C. car accident, contact the Schupak Law Firm for assistance. Our personal injury attorneys possess years of experience handling complex D.C. cases involving car, truck, and other auto accidents, product liability, premises liability, and medical malpractice. The attorneys at our firm are committed to providing skilled representation to help secure the compensation you need and deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation and discuss your case, contact our office at 240-833-3914.