If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be wondering what to do next. The process of filing a personal injury claim can seem daunting, but with the help of a skilled attorney, it can be much easier than you think.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today for a free consultation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you through the personal injury lawsuit process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Washington, D.C.
In Washington, D.C., the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is three years from the date of the accident. This means that you have three years from the accident to file a lawsuitagainst the at-fault party. If you do not file a lawsuit within this time frame, you will be barred from doing so and may not recover any compensation for your injuries.
However, there are different deadlines for different causes of action, such as for wrongful death claims (which have a 2-year statute of limitations in Washington, DC). In addition, many claims have certain notice requirements which are much shorter. You should contact a qualified Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the deadlines that apply to your case.
How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Claim?
Generally speaking, if someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused the accident, you might have a valid claim.
Some common examples of accidents that may give rise to a personal injury claim include:
If you’re not sure whether or not you have a valid claim, the best thing to do is speak with a qualified personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and let you know if you have a valid claim.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, the best thing to do is to contact a qualified personal injury attorney. An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and let you know if you have a valid claim.
In addition, an attorney can help you navigate the personal injury claim process and ensure that you meet all deadlines. If you try to handle the claim yourself, you may miss important deadlines or make mistakes that could jeopardize your case.
An experienced personal injury attorney will also know how to negotiate with insurance companies and get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
What to Look for in Your Personal Injury Lawyer
Not all personal injury lawyers are created equal. When you’re looking for an attorney to handle your claim, it’s important to choose someone who has experience handling similar cases.
In addition, you should look for an attorney who is:
- Compassionate – Your lawyer should be someone who cares about you and your case. They should be willing to fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve. In addition, you should look for an attorney who is:
- Communicative – It’s important to choose a communicative and responsive attorney. You should be able to reach them when you need to, and they should keep you updated on the status of your case.
- Competent – Last but not least, you should choose a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. They should be able to answer your questions and help you understand the process of filing a personal injury claim.
Once you’ve determined that you have a valid claim, the next step is to determine who is at fault for the accident. In many cases, this will be clear-cut. For example, if a drunk driver hits you, it will be obvious that they are at fault. However, there are some cases where the fault is not so apparent.
Responsible parties could include:
- A driver, cyclist, or motorcyclist
- A property owner
- A restaurant, cafe, or another place of business
- Your employer
- A product manufacturer
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you build a strong case and prove who is at fault for the accident. A claim is filed with the liable party’s insurer in most cases.
Once you’ve determined who is at fault, the next step is to gather evidence. This could include:
- Photos of the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Medical records and bills
Assess Your Injuries or Illness
After you’ve gathered the evidence, it’s time to assess your injuries or illness. This will involve getting a medical evaluation from your doctor. Once you have a diagnosis, your attorney can begin to calculate the value of your claim.
In addition to physical injuries, you may also be able to recover compensation for:
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Determining the value of your claim can be complicated, but an experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you get the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Get Medical Treatment
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it’s important to get medical treatment. This will ensure that you get the treatment you need, but it will also create a record of your injuries. This can be important evidence when you decide to file a personal injury claim.
Your recovery progress may affect the value of your claim before we reach a settlement. It’s important to continue treatment until your doctor determines that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). This is the point in your treatment where your doctor believes that you have recovered as much as you can. Ensuring you meet MMI ensures our evidence is as accurate as possible and helps calculate your damages in full. This information helps us move forward with negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.
Calculate Your Damages
After you’ve gathered the evidence and assessed your injuries, it’s time to calculate your damages. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a specific dollar amount attached to them. This could include:
- Medical bills – The cost of any medical treatments, therapies, or rehabilitation
- Ambulatory costs – travel costs to and from medical appointments related to the accident
- Lost wages – This is the income you’ve lost if you’re out of work or can’t do the same job as before due to the accident
- Equipment such as wheelchairs or prosthetics
- Care costs cover the cost of a professional carer or compensation for the time a family member spent caring for you
- Property damage
Non-economic damages are more difficult to calculate. This could include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you calculate the value of your claim and get the maximum compensation for your injuries. We will also account for past and future costs or losses.
Reach a Settlement or Go to Trial
A typical personal injury case is resolved through a settlement between the injured party and the at-fault insurance company. However, if a fair settlement is not offered, we may recommend that you go to trial for your personal injury claim.
Contact our law firm today if you’ve been injured in an accident. We will review the facts of your case and get started on your claim as soon as possible.
Once we reach a settlement or win your case at trial, you will receive the compensation you are entitled to. This could be in the form of a lump-sum payment or structured payments over time.
If you have any questions about the personal injury claims process, contact a qualified Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer today. We will be happy to answer any of your questions and help you get started on your claim.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Attorney Cost?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee agreement. This means we don’t get paid unless we get you a settlement or judgment.
Personal Injury Claim Settlements
For more than 50 years, the Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyers of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have successfully represented individuals and families who have been injured or lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence. Here is a small sample of some of our successful verdicts and settlements:
- $15 million for a woman who was permanently paralyzed from the neck down due to being struck by a stray bullet.
- $6 million on behalf of a man who suffered a brain injury due to a rear-end collision.
- $5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 14-year-old client who suffered a severe brain injury due to a doctor’s inappropriate use of a chemical product.
- $4.8 million on behalf of a severely injured man when his motorcycle struck a trailer being pulled by a minivan.
- $4.5 million for a woman who was seriously injured in a pedestrian accident after being struck from behind by a transit bus in a crosswalk.
See additional examples of our case victories and settlements on our “Case Results” page.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you are looking for the highest level of representation available for your personal injury case, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600 or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.