Understanding Fault in a Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you were injured recently in an accident because of another party’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation against them. Before you proceed, however, it is crucial that you understand the basic elements of a Washington, D.C. personal injury lawsuit—namely, how fault is allocated between the parties and how it will affect the success of your claim.

According to a recent local news report, at least four people were injured after a vehicle crashed into a hotel lobby in northwest Washington, D.C. Local authorities reported that the accident took place mid-morning when a vehicle drove into the lobby through the glass façade of the Yotel hotel on New Jersey Avenue. Although there were no structural integrity issues observed in the hotel building following the accident, four patients were transported to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries, with at least one of them suffering from serious injuries. A separate individual was also treated on the scene for minor injuries but declined to be transported to the hospital. The accident remains under investigation as the immediate cause of the crash into the hotel is unknown.

How is fault determined in Washington, D.C. personal injury lawsuits?

Washington, D.C., like other parts of the United States, has unique laws and rules governing personal injury claims. Although specific differences such as the time available for a statute of limitations or the elements required to successfully file your initial personal injury claim are important, understanding the fault rules in D.C. could provide you with a clearer picture of the potential success of your claim—and whether you should bring a lawsuit at all. Washington, D.C. follows a fault framework called the “contributory fault” rule for claims that involve personal injury cases. This means that if an injured person is found to have shared fault or contributed to the accident taking place in any way, they will be prevented from recovering compensation against the at-fault party entirely.

For example, if you were a few miles above the speed limit in a neighborhood and a vehicle pulling out of a shopping center crashes into you while you have the right of way, you may end up with an allocation of 90 percent fault given to the shopping center vehicle and 10 percent fault assigned to you for speeding. Even though the other driver was mostly at fault, your damages award would automatically drop to zero and you would be unable to collect damages from the other party under D.C.’s contributory fault rule.

Do You Need a Washington, D.C. Accident Lawyer?

If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed in a Washington, D.C. personal injury accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen for assistance today. Our lawyers have years of experience fighting for the injured and will work to get you the compensation that you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team today, contact us at 800-654-1949.

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