When To Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in the D.C. Metro Area

By Julie H. Heiden

Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. If you sustain injuries in an accident caused by someone else, you may wonder if and when to hire a personal injury lawyer. It is usually best to contact a reputable personal injury firm immediately to request a case review.

When Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

When To Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in the D.C. Metro Area

Bringing in a competent personal injury attorney during the early stages of your claims process allows us to do several things that ultimately benefit you. If you have an injury accident, you need to concentrate your efforts on recovery, not the tasks involved in a personal injury claim. We can handle those details for you.

Many personal injury cases are complex. Determining fault accurately is vital because it directly affects your eligibility to seek compensation, but evidence proving that someone else is responsible for your injury may be harder to obtain as time passes.

Investigating your accident, gathering evidence to support your claim, and negotiating with insurance companies takes time. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, we can typically settle your claim without needing to go to court. However, we may suggest filing a lawsuit if insurers don’t offer a reasonable settlement, and each state has deadlines for filing a lawsuit.

Hiring an attorney soon after sustaining your injury means we have plenty of time to take each necessary step.

What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Your personal injury lawyer will advocate for your best interests during your claim process. Our goals are to obtain a maximum payout and make the process as easy as possible for you.

We can:

  • Perform case-related administrative tasks
  • Handle all communications with insurance companies on your behalf
  • Investigate your accident and ensure that fault is assigned fairly
  • Negotiate a favorable settlement amount or take your case to trial

Hiring a personal injury lawyer from Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, to represent you poses no risks, but you potentially have a lot to gain. We don’t require any money upfront and won’t take a fee unless we obtain compensation for you.

What Is a Personal Injury Claim?

when to hire a personal injury lawyer

A personal injury claim is a way to obtain compensation for injuries sustained in an accident that someone else causes. Filing an insurance claim is usually the first step.

Negligence is the basis for most of these cases. By the legal definition, negligence is failing to behave as a reasonable person would in the same situation to avoid harming others, either by action or inaction. To demonstrate this, you’ll need evidence proving that:

  • Someone owed you a duty of care.
  • That party breached their duty of care.
  • You sustained injuries.
  • The breach is directly responsible for causing your injuries and related damages.

A duty of care is a legal obligation to exercise care to prevent causing harm. For instance, motorists should follow safe driving practices to reduce the likelihood of causing a car accident, and healthcare providers must adhere to high standards of care when treating patients.

If you believe someone else’s negligence caused an accident that injured you, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer. We know what evidence to look for and have the means to find it.

What If You Share Responsibility for Causing Your Accident?

Every state has negligence laws that determine whether you can seek compensation if you are partially responsible for your accident and govern the maximum payout you might receive. Contact Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, to find out which laws apply to your claim.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

Each state has statutes of limitations for filing personal injury civil lawsuits. These are legal deadlines, and you will likely forfeit your right to seek compensation if you miss them. In most cases, the date of your injury is the starting point.

You must follow the laws in the state where an accident happens. You have three years to file a personal injury claim in the metro D.C. area but only two for wrongful death. Maryland’s deadline for both kinds of claims is three years, but Virginia’s is two years.

States may also list exceptions to these deadlines. For instance, claims against a government agency typically have much shorter timeframes. Other circumstances, such as injured minors and injuries that develop over time, may extend filing deadlines.

A statute of limitations applies to legal matters, not insurance claim deadlines. If you hire a personal injury lawyer soon after your accident, we can ensure that you meet all filing deadlines.

How Do Insurance Companies Handle Paying Claims?

Most insurance companies do not want to pay personal injury claims.

Most personal injury claims involve liability insurance policies, and insurers don’t like paying claims. These companies may use various tactics to minimize your payout. They might deny valid claims, offer intentionally low settlement amounts, or attempt to place blame onto you rather than their policyholder. Representatives may also try to trick you into signing documents or making statements that damage your claim.

Effectively combating these tactics takes negotiating skills and knowledge of applicable laws. Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, has helped those injured in Maryland, Virginia, and the D.C. Metro area since 1979, and we know what it takes to win.

What Are Different Types of Personal Injury Cases?

Many kinds of injuries can qualify you to seek compensation through a personal injury claim, including:

  • Car and truck accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Faulty or defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death

If you think you have a valid claim, contact Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, for a free consultation. We can assess your accident, explain case-specific information and your legal options, and tell you how we can help.

Every case is different, but you may qualify to receive compensation for things like medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and losing your ability to enjoy life. We can tell you how much your case is worth.

Why Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, is a leading firm that focuses on personal injury law, so we know how to handle your case effectively and achieve a favorable outcome. We have the resources to investigate your claim and hold the responsible party liable. Contact us today to find out more about how hiring a personal injury lawyer from our firm can help you.

About the Author
Ms. Heiden is a Virginia injury attorney who represents injured individuals in personal injury, product liability, social security, and workers compensation cases. In 2009, she was recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership, and excellence in legal services.