Washington, DC Car Accident Lawyers
Washington, DC Car Accident Lawyers
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Washington, DC 20006
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Washington, DC Car Accident Lawyers
If you have been involved in a car accident in Washington, D.C., it is understandable that you may be unsure of what to do next. Such an incident comes with pain, confusion, and endless questions. Do you get a lawyer? If so, how can they help? What should you look for in an attorney?
At Morgan & Morgan, we receive numerous questions every day about car accident lawyers in Washington, D.C., and how they can help in such situations. In addition, we understand the pain you or your beloved may be going through after a car accident.
For this reason, we have answered some frequently asked questions about what to expect from an experienced attorney. We will also discuss additional essential things you need to know about car accidents in the District of Columbia, including local laws and regulations.
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When Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, it may be beneficial to hire an attorney if:
- The other driver was at fault and did not have insurance. In this case, an experienced car accident attorney can help you file a claim with your own insurance company or sue the other driver directly.
- You were injured in the accident and are not able to work. The right lawyer can help you get compensated for your lost wages and medical bills.
- You are unsure of how to proceed with the case. The attorney will review the case and discuss your options, that is, if you have a valid claim.
- You filed a car accident claim with the insurance company, but it was dismissed for unfair reasons.
Generally, it is always advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible. When it comes to these kinds of accidents, the earlier you contact a lawyer, the better. The attorney will evaluate your case and determine whether you need legal representation to pursue your claim.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer?
Hiring a car accident lawyer can be extremely beneficial if you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident. Here's why:
A lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process. Keep in mind that the claim process can be complicated depending on the circumstances of your case. It is even more difficult when you live in D.C., as you will discover shortly.
This attorney can also ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries. When you have a valid claim, one of the things the attorney will examine is the kind of damages you sustained. After identifying the damages, the attorney will place a dollar value on them, ensuring you receive reasonable compensation.
You have the right to pursue compensation after a car accident. Having an attorney is one of the best ways to enforce and protect these rights.
A car accident lawyer can also help you file a claim with your insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement. Suppose your insurance company denies your claim or offers a low settlement. In that case, your lawyer can help you appeal the decision or file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that it is not always easy to deal with insurance companies, especially in a no-fault state like D.C. A competent lawyer could be the difference between recovering damages or nursing your injuries empty-handed.
Lastly, the right attorney will give you peace of mind, knowing that your case is in safe hands. As a result, you will not have to worry about dealing with insurance companies directly, a frustrating process most accident victims would rather avoid.
What Damages Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me Recover?
Some common types of damages a car accident lawyer can help you recover include the following:
Medical expenses: If you have incurred medical expenses as a result of your injuries, you may be able to recover these costs from the responsible party or your own insurer. These expenses include but are not limited to hospitalization costs, ambulance fees, prescription costs, and surgery costs.
Lost wages: If you missed time from work due to your injuries, you may be able to recover your lost wages. This can include lost salary, lost tips or commissions, and lost benefits.
Pain and suffering: You may be able to recover compensation for the pain and suffering you endured due to your injuries. This includes both physical and emotional pain and suffering. In most cases, compensation for pain and suffering increases when surgery is performed.
Property damage: If your vehicle or other property was damaged in the accident, you may be able to recover repair or replacement costs from the responsible party.
This is just an overview of the damages you may be entitled to. The exact damages will depend on the specifics of your case.
Can You Settle a Car Accident Claim Without a Lawyer?
Yes, you can. However, while it's possible to do so, it's not always in your best interests. Before settling a claim without a lawyer, below are a few things to consider.
The severity of the accident: If you've been seriously injured in a collision, you'll likely need legal assistance to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
The other driver's insurance company: Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with and will often try to lowball you on any settlement offer. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help level the playing field.
Your own insurance company: Even if the other driver was at fault, your insurance company might try to minimize their payout. An attorney can help protect your interests.
The statute of limitations: In Washington, D.C., you have three years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim. If you wait too long, you could be barred from recovering any compensation at all. An experienced attorney can help you beat this deadline by building a solid case for you. And if you have already been time-barred, the lawyer may be able to help bypass the restrictions and ensure you receive your much-deserved compensation.
Hiring a car accident lawyer doesn't necessarily mean that you're headed for a lengthy and expensive court battle. In most cases, lawyers can help negotiate a fair settlement outside of court. But if necessary, they will be prepared to fight for you before a judge and jury.
How Do I Find the Best Car Accident Lawyers in Washington, D.C.?
When looking for the best car accident lawyers in Washington, D.C., you want to ensure the lawyer has experience handling car accident cases. For instance, at Morgan & Morgan, we have been fighting for the rights of car accident victims since 1988. That's over three decades' worth of experience handling these cases.
A lawyer's legal resources will also determine the strength of your case. The more resources the attorney has access to, the better their chances of building a strong case for you.
Reputation is yet another crucial factor to consider. For instance, Morgan & Morgan is known all over the U.S. as the country's largest injury law firm. With over 28,000 5-star reviews on Google alone, you can be confident that we have a good reputation in this field.
Next, check their most recent results. How much compensation have they recovered for their clients so far? In most cases, the higher the amount, the higher your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome. Speaking of results, Morgan & Morgan has recovered over $15 billion for the injured so far.
Look for a lawyer who is familiar with the court system in Washington, D.C. This will allow them to better navigate the often complicated legal process and ensure your case is handled efficiently.
You also want to choose a lawyer you feel comfortable working with. This means finding someone you can trust to represent your interests and fight for the compensation you deserve.
How Much Do Car Accident Lawyers Charge?
It depends on the attorney or firm you hire to represent you. For example, some lawyers in Washington, D.C. charge an hourly rate for their services. Others may charge a flat fee for simple cases that do not require much time or work.
For more complex cases, some attorneys may charge an initial retainer fee plus an hourly rate. The retainer is a deposit against which the lawyer's fees and expenses will be charged. The lawyer will usually refund any unused portion of the retainer when the case is completed.
However, the majority, including Morgan & Morgan, charge a contingency fee, a percentage of the total amount recovered after a successful claim or lawsuit.
How Long Does a Car Accident Settlement Take With a Lawyer?
Although having a lawyer can significantly increase your chances of settling, there is no standard time to settle such cases with a lawyer. That said, a lawyer can help you speed up the process by gathering crucial evidence, navigating legal hurdles, filing crucial paperwork on time, etc.
Bear in mind that it could take longer to settle if your case is particularly complex or there is a significant dispute over who was at fault for the accident. Similarly, the process could take much longer if you decide to file a lawsuit instead of settling out of court.
Here's a little secret you need to know: most insurance companies will want to settle the case out of court when they find out you have a reputable lawyer, especially from a powerful injury firm like Morgan & Morgan. This is because taking the case to court could mean losing even more money in legal costs and verdicts.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
After being involved in a car accident, here is what to do:
Call the police and request medical assistance. This is important even if you do not think you are injured. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
Ensure you file a report with the police when they arrive at the scene. Even if the accident seems minor, it is always best to have an official record of what happened. Otherwise, the insurance company will not believe your side of the story, and that is because they do not want to settle unless they have no other alternative.
Remember to exchange insurance and personal information with the other driver involved in the accident.
Take pictures of the accident scene, including any damage to your vehicle or other property. These pictures can help document what happened. If necessary, they can also be used as evidence in or out of court.
Finally, contact a car accident lawyer in Washington, D.C., as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights.
What if the Other Driver Was Uninsured?
As scary as it sounds, what if the other driver involved in the car accident was uninsured? You could be left with significant damages and no way to recover the costs.
However, the good news is that you have options if you are in such a situation. Depending on your insurance coverage, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company or pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
In some cases, you may also be able to get medical treatment through medicare or other forms of insurance you may have.
Always remember that each situation is unique, so it's important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer to understand your options.
How Common Are Car Accidents in Washington, D.C.?
It is fair to say that car accident rates in D.C. have risen in recent years. To put things into perspective, here are some recent mind-blowing statistics:
- Early in 2022, a report published in the Washington Post revealed that D.C. traffic deaths were at a 14-year high. Low-income areas had the most cases.
- Another study concluded that 2021 had the most car accident cases on D.C. roads since 2007. The District recorded 40 fatalities from such accidents in 2021.
- Half of the car accident fatalities in D.C. in 2021 involved 17 pedestrians. The other three victims were on bikes.
- Since the launch of the Vision Zero program in 2015 that aimed to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024, the deaths have increased every year, except in one case.
What Are Some Common Causes of Car Accidents in the District of Columbia?
Some common causes of car accidents in The District include the following:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Reckless driving
- Bad weather
What Are Some Common Car Accident Injuries?
Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
Whiplash: This is a neck injury that happens when your head is suddenly and forcefully yanked forward or backward. Some common symptoms of whiplash include pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the neck.
Broken bones: A broken bone occurs when there is high impact force on the bone, such as in a serious car accident. Some common symptoms include pain, swelling, and bruising at the site of the injury.
Head injuries: A blow to the head can cause concussions or more serious traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Symptoms of a concussion may include headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. TBI symptoms may be more severe and can include loss of consciousness, memory problems, mood changes, and seizures.
What Are Some Car Accident Laws in D.C. I Should Know About?
Car accident laws in D.C. are complex, just in case you need one more reason to hire an attorney. But do not take our word for it; below are some examples of important and complex laws you should know if you or your loved one has been injured in a car accident in The District.
D.C. follows the no-fault system when it comes to car accidents. This means that if you are injured in an accident, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance provider.
You can also file a claim with the other party's insurance provider. However, you have 60 days to decide whether to file a claim with your insurance provider or the other party.
If you choose to file a claim with your insurer, you may not be able to claim non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
The District also uses the less popular and often controversial contributory negligence system when determining fault. This means you may be barred from recovering damages if you contributed to the accident, even by just one percent.
Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to take advantage of this rule to deny the injured compensation for damages sustained in accidents. They know that all they need to do is prove that the other party is somehow liable.
All registered drivers in D.C. must purchase underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage of a minimum of $2,500 per person or $50,000 per accident as part of their car insurance coverage.
Where Do I File a Car Accident Claim in D.C.?
Because D.C. uses the no-fault system, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance provider. However, as mentioned earlier, you may also file a claim with the other party's insurance provider if your coverage is insufficient to settle your medical bills and other damages stemming from the accident.
Keep in mind that you only have 60 days to make this decision, which is one more reason to hire an attorney if you're unsure how to proceed.
The situation can significantly change when suing a government institution or agency for damages caused by the accident. For this reason, consulting an experienced car accident attorney is your best bet to find out where to file a claim.
Do I Need to Seek Medical Attention After a Minor Accident?
Yes, seeking medical attention is crucial whether or not the accident is minor or your injuries severe. This is because it is always best to be cautious and safe than sorry.
Even if you don't think the pain is serious, it is worth getting checked out to make sure there's no underlying damage to your internal organs and tissues. The car accident doctor can assess your condition to determine whether you are fine after the accident. And if you need treatment, they can provide it or refer you to someone who specializes in your injuries.
Should I Accept the Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company?
It is never advisable to accept the settlement offer from the insurance provider, especially without an attorney. This is because insurance companies only care about making profits and not compensating the injured for their damages.
When the insurer agrees to settle, especially right when you file a claim, chances are that the initial settlement does not truly reflect what you are entitled to. It is also possible that even though the offer may seem reasonable at that particular moment, you may have more expenses to worry about in the future.
The only reason the insurer would want to settle quickly is that they want to close the case as soon as possible. And once you accept the settlement offer, you agree to waive your right to sue the insurance provider over the same accident.
This further proves why it is wise to hire a car accident attorney to deal with insurance companies on your behalf. Your lawyer will review your case and help you determine if the insurance company's settlement offer is fair. If it is not, they will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to try to reach a fair settlement.
Remember, insurance companies are not required to give you a fair settlement offer. This is why it is so important to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side to fight for you.
What Does “No-Fault” Insurance Mean in Washington, D.C.?
In Washington, D.C., no-fault insurance means that your own insurance company will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain limit, no matter who caused the accident. The exact limit depends on the terms of your coverage. But if your injuries are serious or someone else caused the accident, you may be able to sue for additional damages, including non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
How Is Fault Determined After a Car Accident?
The fault determination process after a car accident varies depending on the specifics of your case. Generally, calling the police and ambulance—if someone has been seriously injured—is usually the first thing you should do after a car accident.
Once the police arrive, they find out what happened and then write a report.
The police report will include both parties' versions of events. They will also examine any evidence at the scene, such as skid marks or property damage.
Then, they may talk to witnesses to get the bigger picture from a neutral party. And after gathering all of the information they need, they will determine who was at fault for the accident.
In some cases, the issue of fault is usually very clear. For example, if Driver A ran a red light and hit another Driver B, it will be obvious that Driver A is at fault. In other cases, the fault may not be so clear. The police may have to make a judgment based on their investigation and the evidence collected.
Suppose you disagree with the police's determination of fault. In that case, you can always speak to an experienced car accident lawyer. They can review the facts of your case and help you determine if you have grounds to dispute the determination of fault.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in the District of Columbia?
In the District of Columbia, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is three years from the accident date, meaning you have three years from that date to file a lawsuit. You will likely be barred from suing if you do not do so within this time frame.
However, this does not mean you have to wait three years to receive compensation for your injuries. Instead, you can start negotiating with the at-fault driver's insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. And if you reach an out-of-court settlement with the insurance company, you won't have to file a lawsuit at all.
But there are some exceptions to this rule. In D.C., the discovery of harm rule prevents the statute of limitations clock from counting until the injury in question is recognizable.
Where Can I Find a Competent Car Accident Lawyer in Washington, D.C.?
Morgan & Morgan is the best car accident law firm to contact if you are looking for a competent car accident lawyer in The District. Here is why:
If you've been involved in a car accident, you know how overwhelming the aftermath can be. Not only do you have to deal with the physical and emotional effects of the accident, but you also have insurance companies, hospitals, and perhaps even the legal system.
At Morgan & Morgan, we understand what you're going through, and that is why here to help. With an army of over 800 experienced attorneys, including car accident lawyers in Washington, D.C., we have helped thousands of people in The District get the compensation they deserve in the past for such accidents.
We know the ins and outs of the legal process in this part of the country, and we will fight for you every step of the way.
In addition to our experience, here are more reasons to choose Morgan & Morgan to fight for your right to compensation if you've been involved in a car accident:
We offer free consultations, allowing you to learn about your legal options without any obligation to sign up as our client.
We work on a contingency basis, meaning you will not owe us anything unless we win your case.
We have a network of medical professionals who can provide treatment regardless of your ability to pay upfront.
We have a long track record of success in car accident cases, including many multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements. But do not just take our word for it; we have recovered over $15 billion as compensation for the injured across the country.
Check out our most recent car accident verdicts here.
Morgan & Morgan is also the largest injury firm in the country, serving clients from coast to coast. For this reason, we have powerful legal resources to take on any bully, regardless of size and status. This is because your rights are sacred and it is our duty to protect them.
If you are in need of car accident lawyers in Washington, D.C., get a free case evaluation today with America's largest and most powerful personal injury firm. The fee is free. Only pay if we win.