A serious injury can disrupt your life in so many ways – in addition to pain and emotional trauma, you may be thrust into the unfamiliar environment of a hospital. Even after your release, you may have to spend time at home recovering from your personal injuries. While you are busy exhausting your sick leave, the hospital is busy sending you medical bills that you cannot afford to pay.
You may discover only later that your injury was the completely avoidable consequence of a texting driver, a corner-cutting medical device manufacturer, a sleepy doctor, or a shop owner too stingy to repair a dangerous condition on the property. When this happens, it is only natural to add anger to your list of unwanted emotions.
Winning a personal injury claim will require a certain level of proof on the plaintiff’s side of the case. In a civil case, it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove that the defendant was negligent, and that this negligence caused the injuries in question. Hiring a lawyer can remove this burden from your shoulders after an accident. Your attorney can take steps to help prove your claim while you focus on your recovery.
In order to have a strong personal injury case in Washington, D.C., your attorney must prove that the defendant:
The duty to exercise reasonable care is one many people owe to others around them. Drivers, employees, and doctors all have unique duties of care according to their relationships with accident victims. A plaintiff’s attorney must establish that the defendant in question owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.
Then, the lawyer will need to show that the defendant breached his or her duty of care by some act or omission. A breach of duty could be any act of negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing. The courts will analyze whether a reasonable and prudent party would have behaved the same way under similar circumstances, and if not, confirm the defendant’s breach of duty.
Next, the plaintiff’s lawyer will need to establish a connection between the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care and the damages in question. The defendant’s actions or omissions must be the main cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Otherwise, someone else could be more responsible for the accident.
Finally, the plaintiff’s lawyer will need to prove that the plaintiff suffered specific, compensable damages in the incident. Without damages, the plaintiff will have no grounds on which to base the claim. The plaintiff must have suffered damages such as pain and suffering, personal injuries, medical bills, or property damages.
Most clients use initial consultations with attorneys to go over the essential facts of the case and to discover whether they have grounds for personal injury claims. During the consultation, a lawyer will consider whether the situation appears to fulfill the four required elements of a personal injury claim. If so, the lawyer may offer to help the claimant present evidence of those four elements before a judge or jury.
You may have grounds to file a personal injury claim in Washington, DC if someone else intentionally or negligently caused your injuries, regardless of the circumstances of the accident. It is important to speak to a personal injury attorney to find out if you have the elements of a claim. If so, you could be eligible for damages from the at-fault party. Many different types of personal injury claims exist in DC.
Car crash claims are some of the most common types of injury claims. A car accident lawsuit could name another driver as the defendant for drunk, distracted, drowsy, or otherwise negligent driving. Car accident civil suits can occur at the same time as a criminal case against the driver.
A premises liability claim may be appropriate if a dangerous element on someone else’s property caused your injuries. Examples of accidents that could lead to premises liability claims include slip and falls, dog attacks, asbestos exposure, and swimming pool accidents.
A product liability lawsuit seeks to hold the manufacturer of a dangerous or defective product responsible for consumer damages. If a defective drug, medical device, child’s toy, appliance, auto part, or other product causes injury or illness, the item’s manufacturer or distributor may be liable.
If a doctor, hospital, or health care practitioner negligently causes a patient harm, a medical malpractice claim could help the victim recover damages. All doctors owe certain duties of care to their patients. Breaching these duties could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP accepts all types of personal injury claims in DC. In our decades of legal experience, our attorneys have represented clients in virtually all types of claims. Whether you need help with an auto accident, workplace accident, or wrongful death, we can help. Always discuss your situation with an attorney before assuming you do not have a case. Our lawyers offer free consultations in DC for this purpose.
A statute of limitations is a law that limits the amount of time a person has to file a claim. The point of setting a time limit is to motivate claimants to bring their lawsuits as quickly as possible. Without a statute of limitations, a claimant could intentionally wait until the destruction of important evidence the defendant could use as a defense. Statutes of limitations exist in the District of Columbia on both civil and criminal claims.
Every state has different statutes of limitations for each type of claim. DC has its own statutes of limitations that will not apply in other districts. Understanding your statute of limitations is important, as missing your deadline to file generally means giving up the right to demand any compensation. The courts in Washington, DC will not hear your claim if you file after the statute of limitations has passed.
If you do not discover your injuries until after the date of the accident, the clock on filing a lawsuit generally will not start ticking until the date of injury discovery. If the defendant in your case is a government entity, you will have a shorter statute of limitations. Filing a suit against the government gives you two years from the accident, not three years. If you fail to file within your applicable statute of limitations, the courts will most likely refuse to hear your case.
Punitive damages are an extra compensation award some judges may give to victims of serious accidents, on top of compensatory damages. Punitive damages may be appropriate in a case that involves serious, catastrophic, or life-changing injuries, in which the judge does not believe compensatory damages are enough to make up for the losses. They may also come in cases involving a defendant’s gross negligence.
In DC, the courts permit plaintiffs to demand pain and suffering damages in addition to economic loses. Pain and suffering is a type of noneconomic damage award that could refer to physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, or psychological turmoil.
With a little over a dozen attorneys, our firm is just about the ideal size – large enough to possess the investigative and financial resources that tiny firms lack, yet small enough to offer you the personalized attention you deserve. No two personal injury cases are exactly the same, and we will craft a litigation strategy that is tailor-made to the small but important nuances of your case.
We realize that you need money soon. Although we will not compromise your interests by accepting a quick but inadequate settlement, we will be seeking to collect a full settlement for you as soon as humanly possible. Although the vast majority of the clients we represent walk out with a settlement, we are not afraid to fight it out in court if necessary.
You might be wondering how you are going to afford to retain a team of elite injury lawyers when you already have thousands of dollars in medical bills that you can’t pay. There is really no magic to it. Due to prior successes, we feel secure in offering you this guarantee: You will owe us nothing in legal fees unless we win.
“Special thanks to Mr. Schloss and his assistant Suzy Kelly. You guys are the Best of the Best.”
“You have taught me so much about patience and the law. My wife and I both believe you have done an excellent job watching out for our best interests. It’s because of your hard work that we have had about the best year since the start of this whole mess.”
If you have been injured in the D.C. area and you believe you may have a personal injury claim, call us at (202) 796-3291 or simply contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation where we can discuss your options.