In a personal injury case, you often have the right to recuperate the costs of your care and recovery from the person who hurt you. In Washington, D.C., those recoverable costs include:
The goal of monetary compensation after an injury is to restore your life to the level, or as close to the level as possible, it was prior to the injury.
Each jurisdiction has separate rules that dictate the laws and requirements for filing a personal injury lawsuit. Knowing how these laws will apply to your specific circumstances is crucial to building the strongest case to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
When people think of the basis for a personal injury suit, they usually think of negligence. Indeed, negligence can be the foundation for a claim of personal injury, but it’s not the only one.
Negligent injuries are typically caused by actions that could have been prevented if the liable party had been more responsible or careful. Most activities require a certain duty or expectation of care when undertaking them. When someone breaches that duty, you my have the grounds for a negligence case. Examples of potential negligence cases include:
Some accidents occur even when the harmful party did exercise reasonable care, but if they cause an injury, they could still be liable for paying damages. These are known as strict liability cases. Often strict liability comes into play when discussing abnormally dangerous activities that bring an expected risk of harm. These can include:
You can also sue for intentionally inflicted injuries, such as those resulting from assault and battery cases.
The District of Columbia has some specific rules that apply to personal injury cases.
Many jurisdictions have caps on how much money victims recover in personal injury cases, but in general, Washington, D.C. does not have a cap for personal injury lawsuits. There may be exceptions, however, so it’s important to evaluate the specifics of your case when calculating how much you may recover.
Another rule that can change your recovery options is contributory negligence. Under this doctrine, applicable in the District of Columbia, you may not be able to recover any amount if the court finds that you contributed to the cause of your injury. For example, if a reckless driver causes a car accident but you were speeding at the time, you may not be allowed to receive any compensation, even if the other driver’s conduct contributed much more to the accident.
You’ll also need to consider the statute of limitations, that is, the time limit for when you need to file your case by. You’ll usually have a three-year limit in the District of Columbia, but if you try your case in a federal court, you will only have two years.
Many people who work in or visit the District of Columbia don’t actually live within the boundaries of the city. This can complicate proceedings when an accident happens in the Capitol.
Which jurisdiction you try to have your case heard in may depend on which court has the most advantageous rules, such as higher or no caps on awards and longer statutes of limitations.
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills, and other complications. Before taking legal action or trying to negotiate a settlement on your own, you should talk to an attorney about your case. You can search LawInfo’s legal directory to find a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can level the playing field, help you protect your rights, and put you in the best position for recovering the compensation that you deserve.