Anyone who has spent time driving around the District of Columbia will not be surprised to hear that poor road conditions and dangerously designed roads are among the common causes of Washington, D.C. car accidents. However, unlike other Washington, D.C. car accident claims, a plaintiff’s claim that a dangerous road contributed to a crash is not filed against another motorist, but against the government entity responsible for designing or maintaining the road.
Washington, D.C. defective road claims may be based on several theories, including:
- dangerous design of a road;
- the presence of potholes or other hazards;
- steep or unmarked shoulder drop-offs;
- the presence of excessive gravel or debris on the road;
- malfunctioning or missing road signs;
- insufficient warning of a construction zone.
Filing a claim against a government entity has its benefits as well as its drawbacks, and it is essential that accident victims are aware of these distinctions. One advantage of pursuing a claim against the government is that, if successful, the plaintiff can be confident that they will be able to collect on any award issued by the jury. This is a significant benefit because many drivers do not have the assets or insurance coverage to fully compensate a plaintiff for their injuries.
Among the drawbacks of filing a case against a government entity is the possibility that government immunity may prevent the government from being liable for a motorist’s injuries and when a government is liable, there may be a cap on the maximum amount of damages that a plaintiff can obtain. While there are no damages caps in Washington, D.C. personal injury cases, Maryland law does provide for a cap on the total amount of damages that a plaintiff can obtain.
An important consideration for all Washington, D.C. accident victims is the notice requirement. Generally, when a claim is made against a government entity, the waiver of governmental immunity is contingent upon the plaintiff following specific procedural requirements. If the plaintiff fails to follow these exacting requirements, then a court will dismiss a plaintiff’s claim. In Washington, D.C., an accident victim must provide notice to the Mayor of the District of Columbia. This notice must include the “approximate time, place, cause, and circumstances of the injury or damage.” Note that Maryland law allows accident victims up to one year to provide notice.
Have You Been injured in a Washington, D.C. Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. car accident, the dedicated personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC can help. Our team of aggressive Washington, D.C. personal injury advocates has extensive experience bringing cases against negligent government entities and employees. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we represent injury victims and their families in personal injury and wrongful death claims across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you or your loved one has sustained, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.