Truck Accident Injury Attorneys Serving the People of the District of Columbia
D.C. roads enjoy the honor of being the safest in the nation. This statistic can be greatly comforting until the moment a truck slams into you. 80,000 pounds of metal can crush a car like an accordion, and catastrophic injuries are extremely common. When the accident turns out to be the truck driver’s fault and not yours, you owe it to yourself to aggressively seek full compensation.
If you’re like most people, you may not realize the full value of your claim. You are entitled to far more than simple reimbursement of your medical expenses and lost work time. Pain and suffering damages, for example, could turn out to be worth several times the amount of your medical bills. If you expect to suffer long-term disability, however, it is critical that you accurately calculate your future damages.
Nobody Takes Advantage of Our Clients
At Koonz McKenney Johnson DePaolis & Lightfoot LLP, our truck accident and injury attorneys have been helping injured victims for over 35 years now. We’ve seen it all, and we know all the tricks that greedy insurance companies and evasive defendants use to avoid fully compensating people in your situation. We won’t let them get away with it — it’s just as simple as that.
Our Legal Services are Free Unless You Win
We win the overwhelming majority of our client’s cases, and that allows us to offer our services to clients who might not be able to afford a personal injury lawyer if they had to pay a retainer. Ultimately, it is the opposing party, not you, who pays our fees, because our fees are deducted as a fraction of whatever the opposing party actually pays you. And if that amount turns out to be zero, our fees will be zero.
One of Our Clients Speaks Out
“To Mr. DePaolis:
I want to express my sincere gratitude for your professional and compassionate service you provided with the handling of my accident case. I was confident of a positive outcome after our initial meeting and I am glad that I was correct.
Your approach to the situation was impressive and you were reassuring to any potential doubts. Not only did you start the process proactively but you were passionate and honest. My case wasn’t that easy, but with your diligent work WE were able to get the results we wanted. Your special ways and generous heart make a beautiful difference.” – A.K.
Our Other Areas of Practice
Car Accidents: The vast majority of injury car accidents are avoidable, which means that an accident is usually the fault of at least one of the drivers. When that driver is not you, you are likely to have a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. Don’t let the insurance company deny or minimize your claim through deceit and trickery.
Medical Malpractice: Not all medical errors amount to malpractice. When an error rises to the level of professional incompetence, however, you are entitled to full compensation. Although medical malpractice claims can involve complex scientific issues, damage awards can be extremely high in cases of catastrophic injury.
Worker’s Compensation: Nearly three million people are injured at work every year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and nearly 5,000 are killed. The worker’s compensation system was designed specifically to compensate workers for occupational injuries. Although it offers certain advantages over ordinary personal injury claims, there are significant disadvantages as well.
Construction Accidents: Construction work is some of the most dangerous work there is – in fact, nearly one-fifth of fatal occupational accidents are suffered by construction workers. Although most construction work injury claims are resolved through the worker’s compensation system, some such claims are subject to ordinary personal injury law.
Nursing Home Neglect: Make no mistake about it – neglect can be a form of abuse, especially when the victim is in a weakened state to begin with and the institution is charged with the care of the victim. Nursing homes are governed by an extensive network of regulations, violation of which can help to prove liability on the part of a nursing home.
Asbestos Disease/Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are tragic on several different levels – they were avoidable, the onset of symptoms is often delayed for decades, and they are frequently fatal. Because of the high fatality rate, many mesothelioma-based personal injury lawsuits quickly become wrongful death lawsuits unless courts make a special effort to expedite proceedings.
Product Liability: Most of us use dozens of manufactured products on any given day, not all of which are completely safe. When you are injured by a defective product, you may be able to sue not only the manufacturer of the product but the distributor as well, without even proving fault on the part of the defendant.
Premises Liability: A typical premises liability claim arises when a customer is injured by a dangerous condition on the premises of a commercial establishment – we wet stairwell, for example. A premises liability claim can also be asserted against a private homeowner for an injury to a guest on the property.
Federal Tort Claims Act: Lawsuits against governments for money damages are restricted, because when you sue the government you are essentially suing the taxpayers (possibly including yourself!). Nevertheless, the federal government allows you to sue it for personal injury under certain circumstances, under a piece of legislation known as the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is contributory negligence, and how might it affect my claim?
Contributory negligence is a harsh D.C. legal principle that bars you from compensation if you were even one percent at fault for the accident. If the accident occurred on a public highway while you were a pedestrian, bicyclist or other rider of a non-motorized vehicle, however, you can recover damages as long as you were no more than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
Does a personal injury claim die if the victim dies of his injuries?
No, it is merely transformed into a wrongful death claim. Under the District of Columbia wrongful death statute, the representative of the victim’s probate estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit for the benefit of the victim’s spouse or domestic partner. If no such parties exist, certain other close relatives may file the lawsuit.
How long do I have a file a lawsuit?
You have until three years after the date of the accident. Certain exceptions exist, such as if you didn’t discover your injury until later. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you two years file a lawsuit, beginning on the date of the victim’s death.
If the truck driver was drunk at the time of the accident, can I sue a bar that sold him alcohol?
Maybe. Under D.C.’s dram shop law, you can sue the bar if the driver:
- was already intoxicated at the time he was served;
- was known to be a heavy drinker; or
- was under 21 years old.
Are punitive damages available in D.C. courts?
Yes, but they are seldom awarded. Under D.C. law, you must prove by “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant acted with an evil motive, not merely carelessness, and you must prove that the defendant’s conduct was outrageous. A “road rage” incident might qualify, for example.
What is “negligence per se” and why does it matter?
The negligence per se doctrine allows you to win a negligence claim merely by proving that the defendant violated a safety law and that the violation caused the accident. In other words, violation of a safety law is considered automatic negligence in D.C.
What is the minimum auto insurance coverage allowed by law?
The D.C. minimum insurance coverage requirement is:
- $10,000 for property damage;
- $25,000/$50,000 per person/per accident for personal injury;
- $25,000/$50,000 per person/per accident in uninsured motorist personal injury coverage; and
- $5,000 in uninsured motorist property damage coverage ($200 deductible).
Is D.C. a “fault” jurisdiction or a “no-fault” jurisdiction?
D.C. is hybrid jurisdiction. Drivers must purchase liability insurance; however, they may also purchase optional Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which covers their own injuries on a no-fault basis. After an accident, a driver with PIP has 60 days to choose whether to rely on it or to seek compensation from the other driver’s liability insurance policy.
Who should I claim against if my injuries were worsened by a malfunctioning airbag?
D.C. product liability law allows you to sue either the manufacturer or the distributor (or both) of an unreasonably dangerous product, if your injury was attributable to:
- a manufacturing defect,
- a design defect; or
- inadequate warnings;
if the defect rendered the product unreasonably dangerous.
$1 Billion and Counting
We like the awards that our peers have repeatedly bestowed on us. Among 13 attorneys, four of us have been named Top Lawyers, five have been named Super Lawyers and five have been listed among the Best Lawyers in America. None of that would matter, however, without the $1 billion in compensation that we have won for our clients over the years. That, to us, is the real measure of success.
The Clock is Ticking so Call our DC Injury Attorneys Now!
Evidence is what wins a case – even in private settlement negotiations, it is necessary to prove that you can win in court in order to obtain the leverage necessary to persuade the opposing party to settle. Evidence, however, grows stale over time, which means that the best day to contact a DC injury lawyer is today. We will handle as much as possible for you so that you can concentrate on regaining your health.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in D.C., call us at (202) 794-5416, or simply contact us online, so that we can schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation with you.