Washington DC Personal Injury Law Firm
Suffering a personal injury is disruptive at best and life-altering at worst. If you or a loved one were injured because of someone else, you probably have a lot of questions. How will my medical bills get paid? When can I work again? Will the responsible party be held accountable? That’s where we come in.
For over 40 years, the Washington, D.C. attorneys of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP have fought for the compensation that personal injury victims deserve. Reach out to us today to find out how we can serve you.
Do I Have A Personal Injury Claim?
If you were injured because of another person’s negligence, you may have a personal injury claim against that party. Negligence is a legal standard that means the party responsible for your injury failed to behave as a reasonably prudent person would under the same circumstances. There are four specific elements that the plaintiff must establish to show that the defendant was negligent:
The defendant owed the plaintiff a reasonable duty of care. This means the defendant owed an obligation to the plaintiff recognized by law. For example, a doctor owes a duty of care to treat his or her patient according to the standards of the medical profession. This duty is often defined by the relationship that exists between the plaintiff and defendant.
The defendant breached the duty of care. A breach refers to a failure to uphold the duty of care by some act or omission. That failure is typically the result of negligence, but it could also be because of recklessness or intentional wrongdoing. The question of breach is almost always the most contested element of a personal injury lawsuit.
The breach caused injury to the plaintiff. This element requires the plaintiff to show that the breach actually caused injury to the plaintiff. If the defendant was negligent but did not cause harm to the plaintiff, this element fails.
Because of the breach and injury, the plaintiff suffered damages. These include costs such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. The damages are part of the compensation that you will demand the defendant pay in a lawsuit.
Common Examples Of Washington DC Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are many types of personal injury claims, but some of the most common ones are:
Car accidents These come in many forms and result from different types of negligent behavior, such as drunk driving and drowsy driving. A defendant may also be held criminally liable, but you would pursue compensation in civil court.
Premises liability This refers to injuries suffered on another person’s or business’s property. Among these are slip and falls, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, and exposure to asbestos.
Product liability A dangerous consumer product – anything from a prescription drug to a child’s toy – could injure you or a loved one and give rise to this type of claim. The product may be dangerous because of its design, the way it was built or manufactured, or because of a lack of adequate warnings or instructions.
Medical malpractice A doctor, nurse, hospital, or other healthcare practitioner or facility may fail to treat you with care. Malpractice can cause serious injury or disability, or it can cause diseases such as cancer to spread and result in other health complications.
Public Transportation. Accidents involving buses, trains, and other modes of public transportation can be the result of negligent behavior, such as texting and driving or drowsy driving. In these types of cases, plaintiffs may be able to hold the driver or transportation company liable for their injuries.
What Is A Statute Of Limitations For A Washington DC Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit has to be filed within a certain amount of time, or the injured party can no longer pursue it. This time deadline is known as a statute of limitations. Even if you have a strong case and have suffered significant damages, your claim can be thrown out of court if you file outside of the statute of limitations. In Washington, D.C., the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is usually three years from the date of injury. Other civil claims have their own statutes of limitations.
Sometimes, an injured victim doesn’t realize he or she has been hurt until much later. In situations like this, the clock won’t start running until the date you realize or reasonably should have realized, that you were injured. If you’ve been hurt, it’s important that you take action at your earliest convenience. Not only do you want to preserve your claim, but the sooner you act, the easier it will be to acquire the evidence necessary to support your lawsuit.
Finally, if the defendant in your case is a government entity, the statute of limitations will be shorter. Generally, you have two years from the date of the incident to file suit in cases like this.