Experienced Washington DC Personal Injury Lawyer
Washington DC has historically used the oldest draconian personal injury recovery law in the United States ever since the advent of negligence liability. It has even applied to bicyclists and pedestrians who could be found to even be 1% at fault for any injury they suffered as a result of being struck by a vehicle of any type.
This has obviously been working to the advantage of both insurance companies and the federal government for many years. While it appears that this law is about to change with respect to non-motorized vehicles, the concept of pure contributory negligence will still be in place for anyone who is injured in an automobile accident with any degree of contribution for causation.
Understanding Pure Contributory Negligence Law
Even a 1% determination of contribution to causing an accident determined by the court can result in complete denial of damage recovery, including bicyclists and pedestrians, meaning that it is vital to have an experienced aggressive Washington DC personal injury lawyer representing your case that will most assuredly be defended strongly by insurance companies or the federal government because of this unreasonably low standard for claim denial.
Under pure contributory negligence doctrine, a negligent party must be totally at fault for causing an accident injury before the injured victim is allowed to file an injury claim with the insurance company or begin legal action. Only four additional states use this law now, Maryland and Virginia in particular, and winning the case often hinges on how effective a personal injury attorney can be at eliminating any consideration of fault by their injured clients.
Adopting Modified Comparative Negligence Law
While motorists can still be denied the opportunity to pursue damages beyond the claims to their personal auto insurance company per no-fault auto accident law, bicyclists and pedestrians could be allowed to file damage claims for injuries when their personal contribution to the causation is less than 50% according to the court.
Given Congressional approval of the pedestrian liability law change, the new doctrine could still also allow respondent insurance companies and negligent drivers to focus on increasing the comparative negligence percentage of the injured claimant. Your lawyer will understand this potential remains, but they could have much leverage when negotiating with respondent negligent parties for a fair and equitable settlement when insurance is sufficient.
Claim settlement values are discounted by the percentage assessed to the injured victim in this damage model, but any claimant with a comparative negligence percentage of 50% or greater will be denied any damage recovery benefits. This is why the expertise of your legal counsel is so important to a claim.
Auto Accident Injury Clams
Washington DC uses the “no fault” doctrine when determining eligibility for injury damage recovery resulting from a car crash. Injured victims must first submit their medical bills and claims for lost wages to the insurance company that covers their vehicle. Pain and suffering damages will be evaluated last and could be restricted as well.
After all material case factors are evaluated, the potential still exist for pursuing further damages from a totally negligent driver when certain conditions apply as a result of the wreck. Injuries that include severe disfigurement or injury lasting beyond 180 recovery time are eligible, as well as any injury claims where medical bills exceed the limits of the injured party’s personal auto policy coverage.
While this element of an accident injury claim could help considerably towards being made financially whole following an auto accident injury, there are still some challenges and often the injured party could be in an adversarial situation with their own insurance company when they attempt handling a claim personally. All Washington DC personal injury lawyers will advise that this is rarely a good decision.
The possibility of being held liable for your own injury can be somewhat lessened when filing a premises liability claim. Property owners and business managers are still responsible for maintaining a safe environment for all authorized visitors and patrons, but the pure contributory issue still exists in these types of claims. Individuals who are trespassing or denied because of assumption of personal risk resulting in contributory fault could still face case complications when attempting to collect for personal injuries.
This also includes accidents that happen on government property, which also brings an entirely new set of restrictive laws in favor of the government. Statute of limitations time periods are also significantly lower, and most claims will begin will a formal filing for damages with the respective government agency. Dog bite injuries are also commonly associated with premises liability injury claims, and there is no “one bite” rule in DC as there is in many states. All dog owners are responsible for the actions of their dog even when the dog has no history of violence under the “strict liability” district rule.
It is obvious that any personal injury claim in the District of Columbia could be very difficult legal undertakings. The balance of legal power in many ways rests with the defendants, and often even when winning a claim the total payout of the case can be somewhat limited. However, in cases of gross negligence, the potential for punitive damages still exists when your personal injury attorney thinks they can prove the negligent party acted severely irresponsible or intentionally initiated the action resulting in the injury. Many times criminal charges can even apply when intentional acts are involved as material case factors, and having the right attorney can matter greatly.