What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When most people think of lawsuits, they think of criminal cases. However, another type of lawsuit is known as a personal injury lawsuit. This type of lawsuit is filed when someone has been injured due to the negligence or carelessness of another person or company.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, contact a personal injury lawyer at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. We can gather the evidence needed to help ensure you obtain fair compensation.
Personal Injury Law in Washington, D.C.
Personal injury cases arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally liable for that harm. The responsible person’s insurance company pays money to the injured person for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other ongoing medical expenses. Your personal injury attorney works with insurance companies and hospital attorneys in medical malpractice cases.
Personal Injury Claims vs. Lawsuits
Most personal injury claims are settled outside of court in an informal settlement. All those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and attorneys representing both sides negotiate a settlement. The negotiation is followed by a written agreement where both sides forgo any further action, such as a personal injury lawsuit.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you file a lawsuit, you (the plaintiff) are filing a civil complaint against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the defendant), alleging that they acted negligently in connection with an accident or injury that caused harm.
If you or someone you love has been injured due to another party’s negligence, you may have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. The validity of your case depends on the severity of your injuries, the circumstances leading up to your accident, and whether or not the at-fault party can be held liable.
What is Negligence in a Personal Injury Case?
Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, which is the care that a reasonably prudent person would use under similar circumstances. It can be the result of action or inaction. For example, if a car driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the driver’s negligence would be considered actionable.
How to Prove Negligence in a Personal Injury Case
To prove negligence in a personal injury case, your attorney must be able to show that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, that their breach directly led to your injuries, and you suffered injuries or damages as a result.
Duty of Care
You must show that the at-fault party was responsible for keeping you safe from harm under the circumstances. For example, all drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly. This means obeying traffic laws, using turn signals, and maintaining a safe following distance.
Breach of Duty
The second step in proving negligence is to show that the at-fault party breached their duty of care. In other words, you must show that the at-fault party failed to act reasonably and prudently under the circumstances. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk, the driver would be considered to have breached their duty of care.
You must also show that the at-fault party’s breach of duty directly led to your injuries. This is known as causation. To establish causation, you must prove that the at-fault party’s actions were the direct cause of your injuries.
The final step in proving negligence is to show that you suffered damages due to the at-fault party’s actions. Damages can be physical, emotional, or financial. For example, if you were in a car accident and suffered injuries, as a result, you would have physical damage. If the accident caused you to develop anxiety or depression, you would have emotional damage. And if the accident caused you to miss work and lose income, you would have financial damages.
The Statute of Limitations for Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Lawsuits
In Washington, D.C., the statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is three years from the date of the injury. This means that you have three years from your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file your lawsuit within this time frame, you will be barred from doing so and will not be able to collect any compensation for your injuries.
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, D.C.). 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.
If you are unsure whether or not your case falls within one of these exceptions, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can determine if you are still eligible to file a lawsuit.
Common Accidents That Result in Personal Injury Lawsuits
Many different types of accidents can result in a personal injury lawsuit. Some of the most common include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
If you have been involved in any type of accident that resulted in injuries, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Recoverable Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you successfully prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, you may be entitled to recover damages. The type and amount of damages you are entitled to will depend on the specific facts of your case. Some of the most common types of damages that are awarded in personal injury cases include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability
If you have been injured in an accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the specific damages you may be entitled to recover.
Why You Should Hire Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. For Your Case
The Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success in helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a motor vehicle accident, gathering the evidence to establish negligence and other types of liability.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has obtained more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate.
Contacting a Washington, DC Personal Injury Lawyer
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.