Car Accident Negligence, Fault, & Liability

DC car accident lawyers help victims injured in all types of car accidents.

Anyone who has been involved in a car accident will quickly become familiar with negligence, fault, and liability. These are used to decide who is at fault for causing the crash, injuries, or damages, and what is owed to the other party. Although these words are related, there are differences between them, especially when pertaining to a personal injury case.


Negligent drivers exhibit behaviors that cause another person harm. When a driver does not obey traffic laws as they are specified or does something they should not have, that constitutes as negligence. Motorists have a responsibility to be careful while driving, and if their negligence causes another person harm, that driver may be held accountable.

If an injured victim wants to initiate a personal injury claim, they must prove that the defendant’s negligence led to the injury. There are certain ways to establish this. It must first be shown that the defendant had a duty to the victim to prevent any harm, and this duty was breached. Furthermore, this breach must be shown to have caused that injury.

Defining Fault and Liability

Fault equals responsibility. Fault can be blamed on negligence, misconduct, and reckless driving. The latter is when a driver displays an intentional lack of regard for others’ safety, including driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Those who cause motor vehicle accidents are said to have committed a tort, which is a private wrongdoing committed against the victim. When a driver is proven to have caused a tort that inflicted damages and injuries, that driver may be held liable. They may owe the other person some form of reparations, which could be money, jail time, or something else that the court decides. Establishing fault is not always easy. In certain situations, more than one driver is at fault, and the responsibility is shared.

Local DC Laws

All states, including Washington, DC, have laws that govern how drivers should operate their vehicles on the roads. Usually, when a driver breaks these statutes, negligence is presumed as a matter of the law. In fact, fault can be proven by showing that laws were broken. Washington, DC also has a contributory fault rule and disallows the injured person from receiving damages if it is proven that they shared fault for the crash. Under the statute of limitations, a plaintiff has three years to initiate a personal injury claim, starting on the day of the accident.

DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Victims Injured in All Types of Car Accidents

If you were involved in a car accident, an experienced DC car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King can help you obtain the compensation you are entitled. For a free consultation, call us at 202-331-1963 or complete an online form today. Located in Washington, DC, we serve clients throughout DC and Maryland.