Understanding the Legal Steps After a Car Accident in DC

By Peter DePaolis

If you got injured in a car accident in our nation’s capital, you might wonder what you should do next to protect your health and your legal rights. If someone else caused the collision, you might be able to pursue a claim for compensation for your injuries and other losses, but a single mistake in the process could take money out of your pocket.

This blog will help you in understanding the legal steps after a car accident in DC. A DC car accident attorney can help you hold the at-fault party accountable for your injuries and other losses.

What to Do at the Scene of a Car Crash in DC

Your health and safety are the most important concerns at the scene of a collision in DC. Check yourself for injuries and call 911 right away if appropriate. If you are in harm’s way in your vehicle, see if you can safely get to a better location to wait for the police. You will want to get medical attention at once.

Find out if anyone else got injured in the accident. If there are other people with wounds, call 911 if you haven’t already done so. Also, a 911 call can summon the police to the scene so that they can write a report.

Dealing with Insurance Companies After a DC Collision

You will have to notify your automobile insurance company, even if you did not cause the car accident. Your policy requires prompt notification, which can mean the same day as the crash. The other driver might blame you for the collision. You could have to pay their claim out of your pocket if you did not notify your insurer. Also, you might need to make a claim against your own policy if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured or it is a hit-and-run accident.

When talking to any insurance company, do not admit fault. Do not go into specifics. Your insurance company and the other driver’s insurer will look for ways to deny your claim or pay you as little money as possible, so be very careful what you say.

It is best to get a lawyer on board to handle your injury claim as soon as possible and have them talk to the insurance company on your behalf.

Don’t Sign Anything Without Having a Lawyer Read It

An aggressive claims adjuster might ask you to sign forms or give a recorded statement. It is better to politely tell them to talk to your lawyer so that they do not trick you into giving up your legal rights or accepting a low-ball settlement for your injuries.

Your attorney can draft a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, letting them know about your injuries and other losses. The demand letter often starts the negotiation process with the defendant’s insurer. If the case does not settle, your lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit, if appropriate.A DC personal injury attorney can handle your car accident injury claim, leaving you free to rest and recuperate from your wounds. You can reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.