A car accident can be a life-changing event. It can result in catastrophic injury and can put you in financial debt. When you’ve experienced major losses from a car accident in Washington, DC, you need a car accident lawyer to help you recover your total losses. Whether you’re having trouble getting the compensation you deserve outside of court or you’re unsure what to do after your accident, a Washington, DC car accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long can help. Call (202) 960-4596 or send our team a message now to schedule a free consultation to discuss your car accident and plan your steps forward.
With over 100 years of experience as a top automobile accident lawyer in the DC Metro area, Regan Zambri Long can assist you with the claims process after your car accident. Our firm has helped thousands of injured victims obtain successful recoveries in car accident cases. From negotiations to trying your case in court, Regan Zambri Long is ready to help you get the compensation that you are entitled to following a car accident.
At Regan Zambri Long, our car crash lawyers understand that you want to put the event behind you and continue on with your life. But that’s not always an option. A severe injury could have consequences that affect the rest of your life. Not only did you lose property in the accident, but you may not be able to return to work or enjoy the daily activities you once loved. It’s critical to speak with a top car accident lawyer from our personal injury firm that is well versed in the law and has the resources and credentials needed to get you back on your feet.
With more than 100 years of experience combined and a proven track record of success against hundreds of insurance companies, our DC car accident attorneys have the knowledge, experience, and aggressiveness needed to get your life back on track.
If you are questioning why you should hire an experienced car accident attorney for your claim, then chances are you are having problems with getting a fair settlement for your claim. Under Washington, DC law, you are entitled to seek compensation for any financial or non-financial losses. However, without an auto accident lawyer to represent you, you may not get the full compensation for what your claim is worth. In fact, those with representation usually receive three times more compensation than those without.
Your DC car accident attorney will protect your rights and give you the freedom to focus on the healing process during this tough time. Once you hire our attorneys, they will start the investigation process, gathering evidence that you cannot get on your own. They’ll reach out to the insurance companies and negotiate the highest settlement possible to cover your medical bills, lost wages, car damage, and pain and suffering, if it applies in your case.
Even if you think the settlement is enough because you’re only experiencing a mild case of whiplash or a little bit of back pain, you never know how much your injuries will cost you in the long run. Pain can always get worse, and healthcare is costly. You might have to take off multiple days from work to make your appointments and end up losing income. It’s hard to predict how high your costs are going to end up being. The best way to get a higher settlement is to contact an auto accident lawyer who will negotiate with the insurance company for you.
Every driver is required to follow the laws and regulations when they’re behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Many times, negligent behavior such as texting while driving, drinking and driving, or driving while drowsy can result in devastating accidents and serious injuries.
Some of the most common causes of car accidents in Washington DC include the following:
The auto accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long know how to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible to cover the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Rarely, an insurance company may be willing to give a fair amount to settle for your injuries, but more often than not, they are only interested in one thing: its bottom line. That’s why you need a car crash lawyer fighting on your behalf and reminding your insurance carrier that it is still responsible for all the costs associated with your injury. We aren’t afraid to go to court to prove it.
After you file your car accident personal injury case, or sometimes before you file a lawsuit, the at-fault party’s insurance company will likely reach out to you to make a settlement offer. This offer is supposed to compensate you for all your losses and injuries. Often, the insurance company will make a settlement offer that is too low to cover all your medical bills, lost wages, car damage, and other expenses. When you refuse the insurance company’s settlement offer, they may increase their offer. The insurance company increases the settlement value because they hope they can avoid going to trial, which can be time-consuming and expensive for the insurance company. As the insurance company is deciding how much money to offer you in the settlement, they consider several factors to determine your settlement value. These factors include:
The last two factors are important because going to trial will increase the cost significantly for the insurance company. They know this and so will likely increase the settlement amount they are willing to pay you in order to avoid the costs and time associated with the trial. Another reason the insurance company may want to avoid trial is that compensation for pain and suffering is an amount that only a jury will award.
Insurance companies typically do not include compensation for pain and suffering into their settlement value. One of the reasons they do not include pain and suffering is because insurance companies rely upon software to calculate the settlement value, but the software does not value subjective things like suffering. On the other hand, the insurance company knows that an experienced and skilled Washington DC car accident attorney will be able to reach the jury with a compelling case about your pain and suffering. The compassionate jurors are more likely to sympathize and compensate you for your pain.
A car accident may cause several different types of issues. Physical injuries, mental trauma, loss of wages, and even the loss of a loved one. Talking to an experienced car accident lawyer will help you make sure you aren’t forgetting anything that the negligent party is responsible for. A car accident can be life-changing, so make sure you aren’t paying for the mistakes of others.
Damages from a car accident fall into three separate categories: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that assigns liability for an injury to someone who did not cause the injury but who has a specific relationship to the person who acted negligently. Also referred to as “imputed liability,” blame is assigned even if you didn’t cause harm to another individual.
For example, if a person loans their car to a bad driver who then gets into an accident with the vehicle, the car owner may be held responsible for the accident.
Whether it is you, a passenger in your car, or someone in another car, make sure that no one needs any immediate medical help. If they do, you can inform the authorities by calling 911 or telling the investigative officer(s) upon arrival. Police will coordinate emergency medical help and help you or a loved one get treated immediately. Take a look at all injuries and other damages, in general, after a car accident. Note any damage to your car and your personal possessions, as well as any aches and pains you may feel. You can take pictures, write down notes, and more. Keep documentation safe.
Inform the police about the accident so they can come to the scene to investigate. They will help settle the scene by directing traffic when necessary, helping with any immediate medical needs, and creating the police report. The responding officer will interview any parties involved, as well as any witnesses, to help determine how the accident happened, who was at fault, the extent of the damage, and more. Cooperate with the police throughout the process and stay at the scene until you are told you’re free to go.
If the other driver tries to persuade you not to call the police, don’t listen to them. And if they offer you money not to call the police or insurance, don’t take it. It’s not going to be enough to cover your expenses and it could hurt your chances of getting the proper compensation from their insurance company.
It’s important to exchange information with the other driver after a collision. You’ll need basic identification information and car insurance provider details, just in case a claim needs to be filed. Plus, you’ll want to take down the other driver’s license plate number. You may simply take a picture on your smartphone of the other driver’s license plate, insurance details, and driver’s license for your own documentation. If you have any trouble getting this information from the other party, the officer will have the information and can give it to you in the police crash report.
Evidence is crucial for getting the full compensation that you are entitled to receive. Document anything that proves the damages you’ve incurred from the accident. This may be done through photos, videos, a written note, testimony, bills, and more. Throughout the process, keep any medical bills and other expenses that are related to your damages, and note any mental or physical pain and suffering you experience. If you have to miss work due to treatment or you are unable to work due to your injury, gather past pay stubs and other employer information to calculate lost wages.
If there are any witnesses around, collect their statements and contact information just in case you need to get in touch at a later date. Take note of any security or traffic cameras around that might have captured the accident, no matter if the other driver stayed on the scene or you are the victim of a hit and run. Witnesses may give differing statements, but a video gives an unbiased and solid recording of the accident.
Any injury that is more than a small scratch or bruise should be assessed early on by a physician. You should do a full checkup with a doctor and get X-rays taken because seemingly minor injuries can get worse or turn into something different. Report any pain you’re experiencing, no matter how minor it seems. Follow your doctor’s orders by going to appointments and taking any medicine they prescribe to you. Be sure to get documentation of all treatment, analyses, test results, and more to help prove your condition when needed and get reimbursed for all costs.
Call your insurance provider after the scene is settled. They will need to know the basic details of the accident but will also receive information from the police report. When reimbursing costs for damages, they may interview other parties or yourself to determine the exact details of the damage(s) and claim that is being made.
Once you get home, call a car accident attorney to protect your rights. They will tell you that if the other driver’s insurance company calls you to offer you a settlement, you shouldn’t take it. Insurance companies have a reputation for trying to offer very low settlements, and people will take them because they don’t know any better.
The sooner you contact a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer in DC, the better your representation will be. It’s imperative that you seek legal representation as soon as possible to know whether or not you have a case, and the right lawyer won’t waste your time. The lawyers at Regan Zambri Long will communicate exactly whether it’s worth it to start a case or not.
After you call the police and make sure everyone is medically okay, you’ll probably start thinking about calling your insurance company to report the accident. Before you do, give a DC car accident lawyer a call for a no-obligation, free consultation to see if you have a case. Because of DC’s Contributory Negligence Law, you may need to be careful in how you phrase things to be sure you don’t self-incriminate yourself by accident.
Due to this law, if you are deemed even 1% responsible for the accident, you cannot receive compensation for damages. The defendant’s representation could take something as simple as empathizing as admitting partial fault in the accident. Talk with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer before you talk to any insurance companies to protect your rights.
Give a simple statement. Don’t go into too much detail and never admit fault for the accident. The police report needs to be simple and to the point without any conjecture on your side.
If the responding officer didn’t issue a ticket, there are a few things you should do. Make a claim with your insurance company informing them of the accident, then call a DC car accident lawyer. They can inform you what to do and what to avoid. A good attorney will begin preparing your case for trial. And the lawyer on your case is already acting in your best interests, so if you decide you want to pursue litigation, they’ll be able to help.
Read more in our FAQ What To Do in a Car Accident Where No One Gets Ticketed.
When you’re ready to bring a claim to the local court, you’ll need to look to Washington DC’s statute of limitations, which defines the time period in which you need to file your claim. Outside of the designated time period, you will most likely not be able to recover compensation through a lawsuit.
For personal injury and property damage claims occurring in DC, you have up to three years from the date of the accident to file a legal claim for the recovery of damages. For wrongful death claims, the family has up to two years to file this type of claim with the local court. Different statutes of limitations apply to accidents occurring in different states.
In order for someone to be liable to a car accident victim, they must have acted recklessly or negligently, and those actions must have caused the accident. This means that you must show that the person who caused the car accident was either reckless or negligent. In order to prove negligence, your attorney must first show that the person who caused the accident owed you a “duty of care.”
What is a “duty of care”? It is a legal duty one person owes to another. In car accident cases, the legal duty of care is an obligation to drive safely, follow traffic laws, and not endanger others. Because this duty of care is clear-cut, it is usually easy to prove in a car accident lawsuit. Every driver has a duty to operate their vehicle safely. The duty is owed to anyone on or near the road, including other drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
After your attorney shows that the at-fault party owed you – as the accident victim – a duty of care, breach of that duty must be shown. The at-fault party breaches the duty of care by not driving safely, not obeying traffic laws, and endangering others on or near the road. In order to prove that the duty of care was breached, the car accident attorney must show how the at-fault party breached the duty of care. Ways to show breach of the duty of care in a car accident case could include police reports, pictures or videos of the accident and accident scene, accident victim testimony, witness testimony, expert testimony, which could be testimony from a doctor or accident investigator. Often, proving breach of the duty of care involves showing that the at-fault party violated a traffic law. For example, speeding, running a red light, and texting while driving are all breaches of the duty of care in a Washington, DC car accident.