DC Personal Injury Claims
If you have suffered an injury due to the negligent conduct of another, then you could be entitled to damages. Personal injury claims cover all aspects of an injury, including medical damages, pain and suffering, lost wages, and future lost wages. It is important to have a DC personal injury lawyer evaluate your case to best determine what compensation you could be entitled to from your accident.
A personal injury case has several components to it. First, we must determine how the injury occurred. Was it negligence? Was it an intentional act? Is there strict liability? There are different methods of proof for each claim.
Strict liability means that you do not have to prove negligence or willful intent. The person or company that caused the injury has complete legal responsibility for it. If there is willful intent, then you can show that the act was deliberately caused by the defendant without regard for your safety or the public or that the act itself was intentional to hurt the victim or any person.
Finally, there is negligence, which is the most common cause of action for personal injury cases, particularly resulting out of an car accident. First, there must be an injury with harms and losses. Second, there must be a duty of care. A person or legal entity must reasonably act toward others and the public with a certain level of care. If a liable party’s actions fail to meet their legal standard of duty, then their actions justify injured victims to claim damages (harm) done to them by the defendant(s). Next, there must be a breach of that duty by the defendant and proof that the defendant failed to abide by the appropriate standard of care. Lastly and most importantly, there must be damages.
What Is PIP?
PIP, known as personal injury protection, benefits are different in the District of Columbia than in Maryland. Insurers are still required to offer PIP protection. If you have been injured in a DC car accident, you have a decision to make as to whether you wish to use your PIP benefits. You have 60 days to decide whether to make a claim under your PIP coverage. If you choose to use your PIP benefits, you are precluded from also filing a civil claim in court unless you fit into one of these categories:
- Substantial permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Substantial and medically demonstrable permanent impairment which has significantly affected the ability of the victim to perform his or her professional activities or usual and customary daily activities
- A medically demonstrable impairment that prevents the victim from performing all or substantially all of the material acts and duties that constitute his or her usual and customary daily activities for more than 180 continuous days
- the medical and rehabilitation expenses of a victim or work loss of a victim exceed the amount of personal injury protection benefits available.
If one of these conditions exist, then you would be eligible to receive PIP benefits and pursue a claim in court. It is important to speak with a DC car accident attorney as soon as possible so you can weigh your options and decide the best route for recovery.