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Washington, D.C. Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury

The statute of limitations is one of the most important pieces of personal injury laws. The limitations period determines how long an injured person has to file their case and recover compensation. The statute of limitations for each state is different, and in most cases, the time limit changes for the type of claim filed.

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 fight for the compensation you deserve.

Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in the District of Columbia

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In Washington, D.C., the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is three years from the date of the accident. This means that you have three years from the accident to file a lawsuit against the liable 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. This time limit applies to accidents including:

Other Statutes

However, there are different deadlines for different causes of action, such as for assault and battery claims (which have a 1-year statute of limitations) and wrongful death claims (which have a 2-year statute of limitations in Washington, DC). In addition, many claims have specific notice requirements, which are much shorter. For example, in a case against the District of Columbia, you must provide notice of your claim to the government within six months. You should contact a qualified Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the deadlines that apply to your case.

Contributory Negligence in Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Cases

In Washington, D.C., the general rule is that any contributory negligence is a complete bar to recovery. This means that if you are even partially at fault for your accident, you will not be able to recover any compensation from the other party.

For example, if you are driving a car and in an accident, and you are at all negligent, and your negligence was a cause of the collision, you will not be able to recover for your injuries or damages. When both parties contributed in some way to causing the accident, even if one party shares a small percentage of fault, neither party will be able to recover for their damages.

The exception to this rule is in car accident cases where you are a pedestrian, bicyclist, or another vulnerable user of the road, as discussed below.

Comparative Negligence in Washington DC Personal Injury Cases

In a comparative negligence system, each party is assigned a percentage of fault for the accident. For example, if one party is considered 80% at fault and another 20%, then each party will pay their proportional share of damages based on those percentages.

If the case is between two cars, Washington, D.C. does not apply comparative negligence. However, Washington, D.C., does apply a modified comparative negligence rule for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vulnerable users of the road. If you were a bicyclist, pedestrian, or another vulnerable user, and you were 50% or less responsible for causing the accident, you can recover 100% of your damages. 

First Bite Rule for Dog Bite/Attack Cases

In Washington D.C., dog owners are liable for injuries caused by their dogs, if they are on notice of their dog’s vicious propensities.  In other words, if a dog has never bitten or acted aggressively towards a person before, then the dog owner will not typically be liable for the “first bite.” However, a dog owner may be liable for injuries caused by his or her dog, if the dog owner failed to properly control the dog, by keeping it on a leash, or properly confined, even if the dog had never been before.  These cases can be complicated, so If you have been injured in a dog attack, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options under the law.

Injury Claims Against the Government

If the District of Columbia government or one of its employees caused your injury or played a role in your injury, you must follow a different set of rules. In DC, you have six months to file a Notice of Claim letter from the accident date. Your notice letter must include:

  • The date and approximate time of the incident
  • The location
  • The cause of the damage or injury
  • The identity of the claimant
  • How the damage or injury was sustained

How We Can Help You With Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

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 our successful verdicts and settlements: 

  • $15 million for a woman who was permanently paralyzed from the neck down as a result of being struck by a stray bullet.
  • $6 million on behalf of a man who suffered a brain injury as a result of a rear-end collision.
  • $5 million medical malpractice settlement on behalf of a 14-year-old client who suffered a severe brain injury as a result of 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.

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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.

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