Washington, DC Personal Injury Lawyers
Personal injury refers to any events that can lead to injuries, damage to physical property, and fatalities. After someone is hurt or suffers some type of loss from an accident due to the negligence of another person, they are entitled to file a personal injury claim. Many personal injury claims are settled in negotiations with the other side’s insurance company, but in some instances, the claim goes to trial and is resolved by a judge or jury.
Washington, DC personal injury lawyers advocate for injured victims seeking justice and recoveries. Hiring a lawyer gives a victim a chance to work out what happened when they were hurt and who was to blame for the accident. It is difficult for families to recover, deal with medical bills, and fight insurance companies or defendants on their own.
Common Types of Personal Injury Claims
A basic understanding of personal injury accidents will shed some light on what most often happens to victims and their families. Some common accident scenarios include:
Car Accidents: Car accidents can occur for many different reasons, but some of the most common causes include speeding, distracted driving, and following too closely, which results in rear-end wrecks. Car accidents can be minor or severe, which could cause catastrophic injuries.
Catastrophic Injuries: If the victim was involved in an accident that leaves them seriously injured, it is considered a catastrophic injury. These types of injuries usually result in harm to the brain or spinal cord, which can cause short-term or long-term effects. Catastrophic injuries also include amputations, loss of hearing, loss of sight, or any resulting conditions that prevent the victim from leading a normal life.
Motorcycle Accidents: These types of accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities compared to other types of motor vehicle accidents. Head-on collisions, left-hand turns, and lane splitting are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. A motorcycle requires proper training before handling, as it can be extremely dangerous to operate. Risks, such as low visibility and road hazards, prove dangerous for motorcycle drivers.
Pedestrian Accidents: Walking and running have become popular activities for individuals who want to improve their health and well-being. However, this popular hobby can lead to serious injury or death if an accident occurs. Common causes of pedestrian accidents by road vehicles include distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, and failing to yield. Pedestrians can be found on rural roads, crossing the street without a crosswalk, or on the sidewalk when a driver loses control. While pedestrians should be watchful, drivers must defer to pedestrians at all times to avoid tragic accidents.
Premises Liability: When visiting a public property, such as a store or a restaurant, the property owner is required to keep that facility in good condition for the protection of all guests. If someone falls on a slippery floor, they can sue based on the theory that the property owner did not exercise the duty of care to prevent that injury. The same can be said if the victim is a guest in someone’s home and they are injured. A homeowner has a duty to maintain their home and avoid injuries when guests walk through the door.
Slip and Fall Accidents: This specific personal injury case involves an individual who falls on someone else’s property. The property owner may be held accountable for the accident that occurred on their premises. To prove a slip and fall case, the victim must verify that the accident was due to a dangerous condition that the owner was aware of but neglected to fix. Otherwise, it can be difficult to place blame on the property owner. These accidents could occur in a neighbor’s home, at the neighborhood pool, a local park, or even a shopping center.
Truck Accidents: Individuals that are involved in a truck accident are vulnerable to devastating injuries or death. While a car might weigh 4,000 pounds, a large truck might weigh 80,000 pounds or more. Since the difference in weight is so stark, most people who are killed in these accidents are car drivers and their passengers. Driver error is the main cause of truck accidents, which includes speeding, drowsy driving, and driver impairment. Trucking companies might violate Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, or these companies might not care for their vehicles properly.
What Should I Do When an Accident Occurs?
When an accident of any kind occurs, victims and their companions need to know how to respond. While all accident scenarios are different, they require similar reactions. Someone who can respond well will gather more information for the case. Even if the victim cannot do anything substantive at the accident scene, their lawyer can ask for some of this information after the lawsuit is filed. After a car accident, one should do the following:
Call 911 after the accident. No one should ever walk away from an accident without seeking medical attention. A car accident warrants a police response and a report. If the accident occurred on a job site or public or private property, call 911 when it is clear that the victim cannot move safely. First responders know how to properly support and transfer someone who is seriously injured. Go to the doctor if the injuries are not severe.
Report the accident to the insurance company. When a collision happens, be sure to alert your insurance company; this might cause them to investigate further.
Collect personal information from those involved in the accident. Drivers can share insurance information. People who are hurt on property need to know the address of the property and who owns or manages it.
Take pictures whenever it is possible. Pictures at the accident scene help show what occurred. The owner might repair these problems or make changes, hoping to prove that they did nothing wrong.
While these accidents can be painful and expensive, they must be met with facts and quick action. A lawyer can investigate the case while the evidence is still fresh. There is a three-year statute of limitations in Washington, DC for personal injury claims. When a victim waits too long to file, they might lose evidence and have their claim invalidated.
What if I Cannot Work After My Accident?
When someone cannot work after an accident, they lose money and must pay for medical bills. If the victim cannot work, their personal injury claim will include all the wages they have lost. Someone who is badly hurt might not be in a position to continue on their previous career path. Due to this, they are petitioning for more than lost wages. A personal injury lawsuit will request all the earning potential that was lost due to the accident.
Even if the victim can find a new job in the future, they might need quite a lot of rehabilitation just to work part-time. This means that the lawsuit will also ask that all future medical expenses are paid. The attending doctor or physical therapist can explain how much it will cost to bring the victim back to normal. If the victim cannot return to normal, they might need therapy for their rest of their life. Pain and suffering is included in most personal injury lawsuits, and part of the emotional turmoil of an accident is the fact that the victim cannot go back to work. Work is a refuge and a place where the victim can take pride in what they do.
Who is Responsible for My Accident?
When a person is responsible for an accident, they can be sued for their negligence. Some entities that are commonly responsible include the following:
Homeowners: Damaged flooring, faulty decking, problematic landscaping, broken stairs or stair rails, and other issues may cause injuries. If the homeowner did not maintain the property or negligently allowed someone to use the property, they are liable.
Property Owners: A business that owns a large property can be held liable for any accidents that occur. If structures on the property are not maintained, the property owner can be sued for damages. A property owner may also be held liable for the actions of businesses operating on their property. For example, a property owner that allows a business to build faulty structures or engage in dangerous activities could be just as liable for an accident.
Government Offices: A government office can be sued to make sure that accident victims recover compensation. Governments own parks, monuments, and government offices. In these cases, the government office that owns or manages the building is sued.
Vehicle Owners or Operators: In a vehicular accident, the owner or operator of the vehicle can be sued. A reckless driver can be sued when they do anything that endangers other drivers or their passengers. At the same time, the owner of a vehicle can be sued if they did not maintain the vehicle properly. This level of liability extends to trucking companies that do not maintain their vehicles or leasing companies that constantly rent vehicles without servicing them.
Construction Companies: A construction company builds new structures and completes repairs every day. A construction company, however, may leave debris or tools on sites or other hazards.
Contact a personal injury lawyer for help when an accident occurs, and it is unclear who is responsible. A lawyer can look into the case and decide who should be sued.
Can I File a Third-Party Lawsuit?
A third-party lawsuit is possible in some situations. When an accident occurs, a third-party lawsuit might accompany a traditional lawsuit. Examples of third parties that might have caused accidents include product manufacturers, sellers of raw materials, and maintenance crews. Manufacturers are often guilty of negligence because they sold parts or products that were presumed to function properly.
When can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If a third party is responsible for the death of a loved one, the family can file a wrongful death claim. A Maryland resident must file the lawsuit on behalf of the estate of the victim. The person who is the executor or administrator will ultimately file the lawsuit with the lawyer’s support and guidance. A personal injury lawyer will recommend a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim dies long after the accident.
Why Should I Hire a Lawyer After an Accident?
Hiring a lawyer is the only way to successfully file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against any entity. A lawyer can gather evidence, file the lawsuit, and negotiate a settlement. One of the most stressful parts of any lawsuit is hearing from the insurance company and the responsible party. A victim and their family may believe they are getting a good deal when they are not, or they do not know how to navigate a personal injury case.
Ask a lawyer to sit down with the family and explain what should happen now that the lawsuit is filed. A lawyer can be with the family to settle, sign papers, or help in the courtroom. The family can turn to the lawyer as much as they need to until the lawsuit is resolved. This is especially important because the lawyer can show the family how to make informed decisions regarding settlements or going to court.
Washington, DC Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Injured Accident Victims File Lawsuits
Your well-being after an accident is the most important. We can help you with a claim for compensation. Contact one of our Washington, DC personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King for assistance after an accident. Call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, DC, we serve clients throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.