Washington DC Car Accident Lawyer
With hundreds of thousands of motorists on the road in and around the District of Columbia (Washington, DC), car accidents happen with unfortunate regularity. With driving being an everyday occurrence for many people, drivers often become too comfortable behind the wheel. Whether it be texting, drunk driving, or overall exhaustion, drivers have become complacent in risking the well-being of everyone else on the road. These accidents range from minor fender-benders to severe collisions. In the worst cases, motorists involved in these accidents can suffer permanent or even fatal injuries.
A motorist, passenger, or pedestrian who has been hurt in a traffic accident caused by a driver’s carelessness should not hesitate to consult a seasoned car crash attorney who can help them pursue compensation. Knowledgeable, experienced, Washington DC car accident attorney Roger Gelb, is here to assist you with protecting your legal rights following a car or truck crash as he’s done over 10,000 times in different types of personal injury cases. Reach out to a local personal injury attorney to learn about your options for recovering compensation.
Common Causes of a Collision
There is an alarmingly high number of car accidents that occur everyday. In DC, there are a number of things that can cause serious accidents. Some of the most common causes of an auto collision include:
- Speeding/reckless driving
- Hazardous weather conditions
- Texting while driving
- Alcohol use
- Drug use
- Overall tiredness
- Running a red light
With the frequency of car accidents being so high, it’s important to know how to react. It is best to reach out to a knowledgeable car accident attorney in DC to learn about the steps to take following a crash.
Negligence in a Car Accident Claim
In a car accident, suffering injuries are not enough to entitle a driver to monetary compensation. To recover damages, the injured driver must first demonstrate that the other motorist involved in the crash was negligent. Negligence occurs when an individual causes an injury due to their careless, reckless, wanton, or intentional act.
In proving that a defendant in an automobile accident case was negligent, the injured claimant’s attorney must show four things. The elements include the existence of a duty of care, breach of the duty, compensable damages, and a causal link between those damages as the acts of the defendant.
Duty of Care
First, there must have been a legal duty of care owed to the plaintiff by the defendant, which usually consists of the obligation to drive safely. Establishing the duty of care is the first step in proving negligence. In many car accident cases, this step is a formality. Every driver has an obligation to operate their vehicle safely, and this obligation is owed to anyone on or near the roadway.
Breach Of Duty
Many car accident claims center on whether or not the other driver breached their duty of care. Proving that a breach occurred frequently involves establishing that the other driver committed a traffic violation. The defendant must have breached that duty in some way, such as by texting while driving, failing to yield at an intersection, speeding, or driving while intoxicated.
Once a plaintiff has established that the defendant breached their duty of care, they must also link the injuries they sustained in the crash to the defendant. A plaintiff can only collect compensation for injuries that stem from the crash, so proving causation is a necessary step.
The third step involves proving that the defendant’s carelessness caused the accident and that it was a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions.
Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered measurable damages in the accident. Depending on the harm suffered by an accident victim, damages in a personal injury case arising from a car crash may include payment for time off work and loss of future wages, reimbursement for medical expenses that were the reasonable and necessary consequences of the injuries resulting from the accident, and compensation for pain and suffering. If the injured party was married at the time of the accident, their spouse may also assert a related claim for loss of consortium.
Dealing with the Insurance Company
Determining whether the other driver was negligent is an important step, even if a personal injury claim never goes to trial. Most of the time, a car accident attorney in Washington, DC, can resolve these claims with the other driver’s insurer prior to trial. However, the insurance company is unlikely to make a settlement offer without evidence that their driver is negligent.
The insurance company will pursue its own investigation into the crash, often holding up any settlement offer for weeks or even months. During that time, the insurance adjuster may request documents or even a recorded statement from the plaintiff. Insurance companies and those who work for them are determined to pay out the smallest possible settlement in order to keep profits high for the company and its shareholders, regardless of whether the settlement appropriately compensates a victim. The right legal counsel could deal directly with the other insurance company to protect the rights of the plaintiff and work toward a reasonable settlement.
Reach Out to a Washington DC Car Accident Attorney Right Away
Car accidents can have a significant impact on your physical health and your finances. Dealing with the fallout of a crash can be difficult, especially when medical bills begin piling up. A personal injury claim can remove the financial pressure from this situation and ensure you get the medical treatment you need.
If you are prepared to move forward with an injury claim following a car crash, you do not have to do so alone. Contact a Washington DC car accident lawyer at Gelb & Gelb, P.C., immediately to get started.