There are a few different laws that apply to injury-related lawsuits or claims in Washington, D.C. Since these laws differ from state to state, they can change the outcome of any given case. If you are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in Washington DC, it’s crucial to understand how they work.
Lawsuit Time Limits
In Washington, D.C., a person only has so much time to file a lawsuit or claim. Also known as the “statute of limitations”. This time limit is the amount of time a person has to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Washington DC, individuals have up to three years.
The clock starts ticking on the day that the injuries were sustained. When seeking to file a lawsuit, it’s important to be aware of this time limit. If a case isn’t filed before the time limit runs out, it’s very unlikely that the courts will listen to the claim.
Shared Fault Law
A contributory law exists in Washington, and it applies in any case where the plaintiff shares responsibility for the injuries he or she sustained.
Unfortunately, the contributory fault rule in Washington DC is quite harsh because it prevents an injured claimant from obtaining compensation for their injuries if they share part of the blame for the accident that caused the injuries.
It doesn’t matter what percentage of fault the claimant shares; he or she will be unlikely to receive compensation. With the contributory fault law, the amount of damages a claimant can obtain drops all the way to zero when the court finds the claimant was partially responsible for the injuries.
When this happens, the claimant cannot collect damages from any of the other parties involved. In D.C., the courts are required to apply this special law in personal injury cases when the injured individual is even partially at fault. It’s also not uncommon for this special law to be applied to negotiations that involve insurance settlements.
No Fault Car Insurance System
In D.C., there is a “no-fault” car insurance system. This law causes drivers to seek compensation from their own insurance company when involved in an auto accident. Even if the other driver was at fault, this law forces all parties to seek compensation from their own insurance company.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and these exceptions enable a driver to go outside of the no-fault law and pursue a lawsuit against the other driver involved. One exception to this law is when permanent, substantial scarring or disfigurement is involved.
Another exception is if the injured individual can medically demonstrate that they suffered impairment that prevents the execution of daily activities. If the injured individual suffered injuries that prevent them from performing daily activities for at least 180 days, then this is another exception.
The last exception to this law is when a case involves medical bills that exceed coverage limits of the no-fault policies. It’s useful to know that the injury thresholds for the no-fault rule are quite flexible, so there is plenty of room for an attorney to negotiate with the insurance companies.
The Strict Liability for Cases Involving Dog Bites
A number of states have laws that give dog owners some level of protection from personal injury lawsuits. However, this protection is usually only present if it’s the first time the incident has occurred.
The courts must also believe that the dog owner had no idea his or her dog was dangerous. This protection is commonly referred to as the one bite rule.
Claims Involving the Government
Some personal injury cases involve government employees. If your personal injury case involves government employees, then you’ll need to follow different laws to get compensation.
When your case involves the government, you have a maximum of six months to submit a formal claim. It’s crucial that you notify the government of your injury.
How we can help you
Personal injury laws in Washington DC cover a wide variety of areas, each with specific guidelines. If you plan on pursuing a personal injury claim in Washington DC, it is important that you understand the laws acting upon your case.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you've been hurt in an accident you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.