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Our Washington, D.C. Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You Seek Justice
From taking in the historical monuments and museums of the National Mall to strolling along the idyllic Tidal Basin, there’s no shortage of cultural attractions that make our city great. Unfortunately, these same attractions make Washington, D.C. a major hub for car accidents due to the heavy flow of pedestrian, bike, and car traffic.
If you live or work in the D.C. metropolitan area, you have probably experienced your fair share of unpleasant interactions trying to navigate problem roads and intersections like I-395, D.C. Route 295, or Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street NW. It’s no wonder that local officials have already reported more than 4,000 car accidents, 1,500 related injuries, and a dozen transit-related deaths in 2023.
Car accidents can change your life in a moment and leave you dealing with medical bills, injury recovery, insurance claims, and other challenges long after they happen. But you don’t have to tackle these challenges alone. Our experienced Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have helped victims in the Beltway Community seek the justice they are owed for 70 years. Located just blocks from the White House, we’re ready to give your case the personalized attention it deserves. If you need a car accident lawyer in Washington, D.C., call us today at 202-335-2600 or request a free consultation online.
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What Should I Do Immediately After a Washington, D.C. Car Accident?
After an accident, the top priority is ensuring that you, your passengers, and the other driver(s) are safe. Next, you should focus on making sure you do not compromise your case or open yourself up to liability – even if you don’t have any initial plans to take legal action. Unfortunately, at-fault drivers may act in bad faith and falsely claim that you were responsible for the accident. To protect yourself after an accident, you should:
- Call 911: Emergency responders can help secure the accident scene and make sure everyone involved in the crash receives any necessary medical attention. It’s also important to obtain a police report as evidence. Be cooperative when talking with police, but do not admit fault.
- Document the scene and gather evidence: If possible, you should try to get photographs and videos of the crash scene, including the relevant vehicles and their license plates. You should also collect contact and insurance information from the other driver(s) as well as statements and contact information from any eyewitnesses.
- Seek immediate medical care: If you can’t move on your own accord after an accident, remain in place until the authorities arrive to avoid further injury. It’s important to be examined by a qualified medical provider ASAP, even if you feel OK after your accident. Many injuries may not fully manifest for weeks or even months after your car accident.
- Consult a Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer: It’s always a good idea to have an expert auto accident lawyer in Washington, D.C. review the details of your car accident, even if you do not ultimately pursue legal action. You may not be aware of all your legal options after a car accident, and that lack of knowledge can be costly. Request your free case review from Ashcraft & Gerel today to see how our local car accident attorneys can help you.
What if the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
If the at-fault party in your car accident does not have car insurance, you can still file a claim with your own auto insurance or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Washington, D.C. requires that drivers carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage for at least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for a single person, with a cap of $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident. There is also a $5,000 cap for property damage caused by an uninsured driver.
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, we recommend that you follow the typical steps after an accident, which are outlined above. Additionally, do not accept any cash offers from an at-fault party. In some situations, that can be construed as a settlement offer.
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What Happens if You Don’t Have Auto Insurance?
Not carrying car insurance in Washington D.C. can have serious consequences according to the laws in place. In the District of Columbia, it is mandatory for all drivers to maintain valid auto insurance coverage to protect themselves and others in the event of an accident. Failing to carry insurance can result in severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even potential imprisonment.
If an uninsured driver is involved in a car accident, they may face significant legal and financial consequences. Under D.C. law, an uninsured driver may be held personally responsible for all damages and injuries resulting from the accident, including medical expenses, property damage, and legal fees. Furthermore, the driver may face civil lawsuits from the injured parties seeking compensation for their losses. Overall, not having car insurance in Washington D.C. can lead to legal trouble, financial hardship, and potential long-term consequences.
Why Hire a Washington, D.C. Car Accident Attorney?
Consulting a local car accident attorney in Washington, D.C. will almost always benefit you, even if you do not pursue a legal claim. After all, the at-fault driver’s insurance company – and their lawyers – will already be hard at work trying to dispute responsibility and limit the amount of compensation you may be owed. Their high-pressure tactics can be overwhelming without the support of a Washington, D.C. auto accident lawyer.
Pursuing a legal claim after a car accident is also challenging in Washington, D.C. because it is a contributory negligence state. That means it will be tough to receive compensation from the other driver if you share even 1% of the blame for your accident. By working with a local Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer with a deep understanding of the relevant laws, you stand a better chance of successfully pursuing your claim. A qualified Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer can help prove the other driver was negligent, negotiate the claims process, reject lowball settlements, and fight to receive the damages you deserve. If you would like an auto accident lawyer in Washington, D.C. to review your case for free, contact Ashcraft & Gerel today.
When Should You Contact a Washington D.C. Car Accident Lawyer?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, our recommendation is to contact a Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer ASAP. That is especially true if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, are dealing with an unresponsive insurance company, or suspect your settlement offer is unfair. A local car accident attorney will help you understand the legal options you have while protecting you from low settlement offers and other attempts to take advantage of you.
Insurance companies also understand the timely nature of these situations. They may attempt to quickly record statements that can undermine your case or try other underhanded tactics. Our Washington, D.C. car accident attorneys can stop those efforts in their tracks, speed up the claims process, and make sure you don’t settle for less than you deserve.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Washington, D.C. Car Accident?
The term “statute of limitations” refers to a state-mandated deadline for taking legal action after a car accident. There are many unique circumstances and aspects of your specific case that can change the statute of limitations for your car accident. Some factors may shorten your timeframe, while others could extend it. To better understand how these rules apply to your case, we recommend you consult an auto accident attorney in Washington, D.C..
Who Is Liable for My Injuries in a Washington, D.C. Car Accident?
Washington, D.C. is a no-fault state, which means that regardless of fault, the insurance company of each driver is obligated to cover their policyholder’s medical expenses and specific damages resulting from an accident. Those involved in a car accident can usually seek compensation directly from their own insurance provider instead of pursuing a claim against the other driver’s insurance.
However, determining fault is an important and complex concept in Washington, D.C due to its contributory negligence rule, which makes it difficult to seek compensation from another driver if you share even a small portion of fault in causing your car accident. If you’d like to learn more about how these rules may affect your own case, we recommend contacting a car accident attorney in Washington, D.C..
What Damages Can I Pursue After a Washington, D.C. Car Accident?
What damages you can pursue after a car accident will depend on the specific losses you suffered as a result of the at-fault driver’s negligence. Common examples include:
- Medical bills: This category could include the cost of hospital stays, doctor appointments, physical and psychological therapy, prescriptions, and other expenses related to your medical treatment.
- Property damage: While this category typically deals with the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, you may also be able to seek compensation if other valuable items in your car were damaged or destroyed.
- Lost income: Your car accident may leave you unable to work for an extended period of time, and it could impede your ability to earn an income in the future. This category of damages is designed to help address that loss.
- Pain and suffering: The traumatic effects of your car accident may linger long after the incident. If your accident caused anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, permanent scarring/disfigurement, or other long-term consequences, you may be able to seek compensation through this category of damages.
- Loss of companionship: Fatal car accidents are a nightmare scenario. If you lose a partner or spouse due to your car accident, this category of damages may be applicable to your case.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Washington, D.C.?
It’s difficult to determine an average settlement for car accidents in Washington, D.C. because each case is unique, and a given settlement will be tied to the facts of that specific case.
Nationally, the 2021 average for an auto claim with bodily injury was $22,734, according to the Insurance Information Institute, while the average property damage claim in an auto accident was $5,314.
Of course, these numbers have no real bearing on the potential value of your case. It’s best to contact a qualified Washington, D.C. auto accident lawyer if you’d like to understand what sort of settlement you might expect for your case.
How Long Does It Take To Settle a Washington D.C. Car Accident Case?
There is no established average or set timeframe for how long it will take to resolve your case. Cases with minor injuries and property damage could be settled within 6 months, but more complex or heavily disputed cases could take up to several years, particularly if your case goes to trial. If any of the following factors are involved in your case, they are likely to extend the time it takes to settle:
- Severe injuries, permanent disabilities, or extended medical treatment times
- Unclear or disputed liability
- Claims that involve a larger number of parties
- Uncooperative insurances companies or other parties
Who Pays Your Medical Bills After a Car Accident in Washington, D.C.?
In Washington D.C., each driver’s insurance company is responsible for covering their own policyholder’s medical expenses and certain damages. This allows people involved in an accident to seek compensation for medical bills directly from their insurance provider instead of going after the other driver’s insurance. A good car accident attorney in Washington, D.C. can also help negotiate this repayment and try to minimize your medical debt.
What Causes Most Washington, D.C. Car Accidents?
It only takes one poor decision or a brief moment of inattention to cause a car accident. Some of the most common causes of car accidents in Washington, D.C. include:
- Texting or otherwise being distracted while driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Reckless, aggressive, or unpredictable driving
- Failure to adapt to changing road conditions, such as weather events
How Do I Get a Temporary Rental Car After an Accident?
Trying to deal with life after a car accident can be even more stressful if you are without a working car, and securing a rental car will depend on the circumstances of your accident. Ideally, the at-fault party will quickly admit fault, and their insurance will pay for your rental car or reimburse you if you have already spent money on a rental.
But if liability for the accident is not clear, you may have to wait until the insurance company investigates the accident. Your own insurance policy may have some rental coverage, so you should check with your provider. Otherwise, you will have to pay out of pocket and hope to be reimbursed once your claim is settled.
If you feel like your claim is being delayed unnecessarily, we recommend that you contact a Washington, D.C. car accident attorney who can help apply pressure to insurance companies when they are dragging their feet.
What if I’m in an Accident in a Rental Car?
While the claims process for an accident involving a rental car is similar to the typical auto claims process, there are some additional layers of complexity. That’s because there are often multiple ways to insure a rental car, and your situation will depend on what coverage you have and the circumstances of the accident.
The at-fault driver’s insurance or your regular auto insurance may cover the damages in some cases. Most rental companies also offer various levels of extra coverage during the initial rental process, and if you use certain credit cards, they may also provide some limited coverage. In any situation where you must rent a car, it’s best to fully understand what coverage applies before driving it. If you are in an accident, working with an experienced auto accident attorney in Washington, D.C. can help you navigate these additional layers of complexity.
What is UM/UIM Insurance?
Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance is intended to help cover your losses if you are involved in a car accident with a driver who does not have insurance (or adequate insurance to compensate your damages).
This coverage is mandatory for drivers in Washington, D.C.. Policies must provide at least $25,000 per person ($50,000 per accident) in bodily injury coverage and at least $5,000 for property damage caused by an uninsured/underinsured driver.
Our Washington, D.C. Car Accident Attorneys Are Ready To Serve Your Case
With a bevy of national monuments, free Smithsonian museums, and natural attractions – who doesn’t love the sight of cherry blossoms in the spring? – it’s easy to see why Washington, D.C. draws a staggering amount of traffic each year. Unfortunately, this also means our city experiences thousands of car accidents each year along busy roadways like I-395, I-495, and Pennsylvania Avenue.
If you’ve been injured in a Washington, D.C car accident due to someone else’s negligent behavior, you don’t have to fight this injustice alone. The experienced Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers at Ashcraft & Gerel have been helping victims in our community get the compensation they deserve for more than 65 years. We approach each case with determination and diligent attention to detail, regardless of the size of your claim. If you need a car accident lawyer in Washington, D.C., call us today at 202-335-2600 or request a free consultation online.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle in Washington D.C.
Our firm specializes in the field of car accidents. We are prepared to handle all sorts of circumstances and situations, including:
- Car accidents that involve an injury
- Car accidents that don’t involve an injury
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Drunk driving
- Elderly driver cases
- Fatal car accidents
- Head-on collisions
- High-speed crashes
- Hit and runs
- Minor/small car accidents
- Passenger injury cases
- Pedestrian accidents
- Rear-end collisions
- Rental car accidents
- Rideshare accidents
- Road rage
- Rollover accidents
- Teen drivers
- Unsafe lane changes
- Victim of DUI cases
- Wrong way driving