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Washington, DC Car Accident FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Washington, DC Car Accidents

If you have questions about your legal rights after a car accident in Washington, DC then you’ve come to the right place. We will dive into some of the frequently asked questions car accident victims have following an accident. And we will also look at some of the questions you never thought to ask but will be very important to your accident claim. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to face a car accident claim alone. Your Regan Zambri Long Washington, DC car accident lawyer will handle the entire claims process and work to secure fair compensation for your injuries. We offer free consultations where you will speak with an experienced attorney who can give you sound legal advice. Call today to get your claim started.

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When should I hire a Washington, DC car accident lawyer?

Unhappy Female Driver With Damaged Car After Accident Calling Insurance Company On Mobile PhoneLet’s start with the biggest question: when do I need to file a personal injury claim and do I need a car accident lawyer to do it? It’s a valid question and we have the answer. First, let’s take a few examples of when you do not need to file a claim or hire an attorney:

  • The car accident was a minor fender bender.
  • No one in your car (including passengers) sustained any injuries.
  • There was minimal or no damage done to the vehicles involved.
  • You have clear evidence of the at-fault party to show the insurance company (i.e. there is security footage of a car running a red light and crashing into you).
  • The insurance company offers a fair settlement.

If any of the above resembles your case, then you may not have to go through with the claims process. However, many car accidents are more complicated than that and require more attention. A few examples of when you should file a claim and hire a lawyer are:

  • You or your passenger sustained serious injuries.
  • The car accident was catastrophic or had multiple people involved.
  • The insurance company denies your claim.
  • The at-fault party isn’t clear.

If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries from a car accident, then you should hire a car accident lawyer immediately. Medical bills pile up quickly and are extremely expensive. At Regan Zambri Long we firmly believe our clients should not pay for someone else’s negligence.

Call today for a free consultation with a Washington, DC lawyer who will help you recover compensation for the injuries and property damage sustained in a car accident.

Who Do I File a Car Accident Claim Against?

After deciding if your injuries and the property damage from your car accident are worth filing a claim against, the next step is to determine who you will file the claim against. To determine whose fault the car accident was, you will want to keep this one word multiple car accident daylightin mind: negligence. Negligence is simply the failure to take proper care in doing something.

When drivers are traveling, it is their responsibility to make sure they take every measure possible to keep other drivers as safe as possible. This means they shouldn’t be texting and driving, drinking and driving, driving while they are drowsy, or distracted by anything.

Their focus should be the road. If they fail to take proper care while they are driving and cause an accident, then their negligence was the cause of that accident and they should pay compensation for the harm they caused. Determining the negligent party can be tricky in a Washington, DC car accident. Multiple parties can be held liable:

  • The other driver
  • The car manufacturer
  • The other driver’s employer (if driving a company car)
  • The municipality where the accident happened (if poor road conditions cause the crash)
  • The maintenance company (if the car was not repaired properly)

If there are any questions about who is liable for the car accident you were involved in, speak to a Regan Zambri Long car accident attorney. We will gather evidence from the scene of the accident, speak to witnesses, and consult with experts to determine which party or parties should be held liable for the crash.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim in Washington, DC?

Different states have different restrictions on when car accident victims can file a claim against the negligent driver. In Washington, DC, the car accident victim has three years from the date of the injury to file a claim.

Three years may seem like a long time, but you have to be careful: if you do not submit a personal injury claim for your car accident within the three-year window, you may forfeit your rights to compensation. Reach out to a Regan Zambri Long car accident attorney as soon as possible to get your claim started. Your attorney will make sure your claim is filed correctly and on time.

Discovery of the injury

If injuries from the car accident do not present themselves right away, you may be able to extend the statute of limitations to the date of discovery of the injury rather than the date of the injury itself. This is one of the many instances where a car accident attorney will be extremely beneficial to your case.

The Regan Zambri Long car accident attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in settlement negotiations and trials. Reach out today for a free consultation with a car accident attorney who can give you sound legal advice on your claim.

You can file a personal injury claim right away

Partner Victor Long seated at deskYou can file a personal injury claim immediately after a car accident. The most important thing to do after a car accident is to make sure you and your loved ones receive the medical attention you need. Your health is always the priority. Once your injuries have been looked at by a physician, the next step is filing a personal injury claim.

An important tip from the attorneys at Regan Zambri Long: do not speak with an insurance company until you have a lawyer. Insurance companies are known to speak to accident victims at their most vulnerable times – when they are in physical pain and still in shock from the accident. They use your state of mind to get you to accept a lowball settlement. You are under no obligation to speak with the other driver’s insurance company or your own insurance company until you are ready.

Be sure to speak with a Regan Zambri Long car accident attorney before you speak with anyone from the insurance company.

Is Washington, DC a no-fault system?

Yes, Washington, DC is a no-fault system. This means that filing a car accident claim against the other driver’s insurance company can be difficult. The first step in the claim process would be to file with your own insurance company. If your insurance policy does not cover the medical expenses, then you will file a third-party claim against the other driver.
To file a claim against the other driver, the injuries and damages you sustained must meet these two thresholds:

  • If your injuries (including medical expenses and lost wages) exceed the Personal Injury Protection limit on your insurance coverage.
  • If your injuries include permanent damage including scarring, disfigurement, or other impairments.

During your free consultation with a Regan Zambri Long car accident attorney, you will have a chance to discuss if your case would be an exception to the no-fault insurance system in Washington, DC Your attorney will be able to give you a reasonable assessment of your case and if you should expect a higher settlement for your injuries.

What Happens If the At-Fault Party Doesn’t Have Insurance?

Unfortunately, Washington, DC is one of the top 10 jurisdictions in the United States with the highest percentage of uninsured motorists. A whopping 19.1% of drivers in Washington, DC are driving without an insurance policy. Do not worry about this fact though – even if a motorist is uninsured, they still have to cover the costs of medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage.

Having to deal with a driver who doesn’t have a car insurance policy is one of the many situations where car accident lawyers are beneficial. At Regan Zambri Long, we can use our knowledge of the Washington, DC legal system and various insurance policies to make sure you walk away with the highest compensation possible.

What If I Am At Fault For the Car Accident in DC?

Female,Motorist,Involved,In,Car,Accident,Calling,Insurance,Company,OrIn most car accidents, determining fault can be tricky. For example, if one driver ran a stop sign and T-boned another driver, then you would think the fault would lie only with the driver who ran the stop sign. However, what happens if the driver who was T-boned was speeding? Now the case gets more complicated.

You have one driver breaking the law by running a stop sign, which could have been the cause of the accident. But you also have another driver breaking the law by speeding, which could have contributed to the accident, as well.

Contributory Negligence vs. Comparative Negligence

Washington, DC practices a law called contributory negligence. Contributory negligence states that if you bear any responsibility for the accident, then you may not be able to collect any compensation.

Comparative negligence is practiced throughout the rest of the United States. Comparative negligence allows both parties involved in the accident to recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident.
Most defense lawyers in Washington, DC will use contributory negligence right away to get their clients out of paying what they owe. Fortunately, the seasoned car accident lawyers at Regan Zambri Long know every trick in the book. They will go into negotiations with evidence to prove the other driver was totally at fault for the accident to secure the maximum amount of compensation possible.

How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

Initially, insurance company adjusters determine fault in car accidents. This is why you should never speak to an adjuster before you have obtained legal counsel. However, if you do not agree with the adjuster’s assessment, your attorney will build a case to challenge the decision.

Your attorney will use the following information to help build a case against the negligent party:

  • The police report: This report will detail what the police found at the scene of the accident. This will include eyewitness testimonies, as well as the other driver’s information.
  • Documentation from the accident: Documentation will include videos, surveillance footage, and photos
  • Eye witness testimonies: These will be written statements from onlookers who witnessed the crash firsthand.
  • Medical records: These will be the medical records of the injured to prove the severity of the injury.

At Regan Zambri Long, our lawyers spare no expense in conducting their investigation of the accident. Our firm has the financial backing to hire expert witnesses, medical consultants, and other legal experts. We will work tirelessly to protect your rights.

Who is At Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

Rear-end collisions are all too common in the District and across the United States. Usually, in a rear-end collision, the driver in the back vehicle is at fault for the crash. However, there are circumstances where the front vehicle could be held responsible.

The rear vehicle would be considered at fault in the crash if he or she were:

  • Driving distracted (i.e. texting while driving, putting on makeup, eating, talking to other passengers, etc.)
  • Driving the vehicle while drowsy
  • Driving the vehicle while intoxicated
  • Aggressive driving (i.e. tailgating)
  • Speeding

teen driver looking at his phone - teen driving accidentThe front vehicle may be liable for the crash if he or she:

  • Reversed into the vehicle behind them, causing the crash
  • Swerved in and out of lanes and otherwise aggressively driving
  • Suddenly brakes or brake checks the other driver
  • Has malfunctioning brake lights that don’t indicate a slow down to the other driver

A rear-end collision can result in catastrophic injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones. If you were involved in a rear-end collision, contact a Regan Zambri Long car accident attorney as soon as possible.

What Should I Do After a Car Crash in DC?

There are a few steps to try to remember at the accident scene immediately following a car crash. These steps can help keep the passengers in all vehicles as safe as possible following the accident:

  • Pull your vehicle over to a safe place: If you can move your vehicle safely, pull to the side of the road to get out of the line of traffic.
  • Call 911. This is one of the most important things you can do. The police can help get the right medical attention to all injured parties. They will also begin the police report.
  • Seek medical attention. The health of the passengers in both vehicles should be the main priority. Seeking medical attention immediately following the car accident will also help your claim later.
  • person holding cell phone taking picture of accident sceneDocument the scene of the accident. If you and the passengers in your vehicle are not dealing with an immediate injury, then you should start getting as much documentation of the accident as possible. This can include photos of your car, or the other driver’s car, videos, injury photos, eyewitness testimony, and notes of how the accident happened.
  • Exchange information with the other driver or drivers. This information will be their full names, phone numbers, insurance information, and license plate number. If the drivers refuse to give you their information, do not worry. All the information you and your lawyer will need will be in the police report, including the driver’s insurance information.
  • Call the Regan Zambri Long car accident attorneys for a free consultation.
  • Call your insurance company to report the accident.

What Should I Not Do After a Car Crash in DC?

While there are many “DOs” following car accidents, there are just as many “DON’Ts.” Below are a few things you should avoid doing following an accident:

  • Do not leave the scene of the accident. This is illegal. Wait until the police say it’s okay for you to leave.
  • Do not let the other driver or drivers talk you out of calling the police. Make sure to call 911 so the responding officer will facilitate getting the injured party’s medical attention and will begin the accident report.
  • Do not refuse medical care. Not all injuries are visible right away. Some worsen or develop over time, especially brain injuries. You should always get checked out by a physician following car accidents. Seeking medical care will also help you in the claims process. If you do not get checked out by a doctor, the defense attorney will be able to use that against you in settlement negotiations or trials. They could easily make an argument that you were not as injured as you claim. Always get checked out by the doctor and keep a record of all medical treatment.
  • Do not admit fault. It’s natural to want to say “sorry” to the other driver or drivers after car accidents. Do not do this. Saying you’re sorry can be used against you in the claims process. If possible, do not say anything to the other driver or drivers.
  • Do not try to go through the claims process alone. The Regan Zambri Long car accident attorneys are your advocates. They will help you understand the process and your legal rights. Car accidents, especially when they involve multiple vehicles, can be complex. In order to secure the highest compensation possible, you will need a Regan Zambri Long attorney on your side.

How Do I Get a Police Report in Washington, DC?

The report will be generated by the responding officer at the accident. The officer will issue a six-digit identifying number to your accident (referred to as the CCN). Take note of this number – you will need it to get the accident report.

There are two ways to get the accident report. The first is to make an appointment with the Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department. They do not take walk-ins. You must schedule your appointment ahead of time.

If you are outside the Washington, DC area, you can request the accident report by mail. It’s important to note that this type of request will take up to six weeks to process. If you need the accident report sooner, an in-person appointment is a more efficient way to obtain it.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Sad woman with hands by her face paralysis lawyerTragically, many car accidents still claim the lives of the drivers involved. If your loved one was killed in a car accident, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Each state has different laws regarding wrongful death, but in Washington, DC, the executor of the deceased person will file the claim on the surviving spouse or domestic partner’s behalf. Other beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit can be the deceased person’s children, parents, siblings, or other relatives.

The victim’s family may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, burial costs, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Speak to a Regan Zambri Long wrongful death lawyer today to make sure you and your family receive the compensation you deserve.

Is It Worth Getting a Car Accident Lawyer For My DC Car Accident?

In most cases, accidents are not clear-cut. If your case is complex or complicated, it’s better to have an expert legal advocate on your side. There is no law in Washington, DC stating that you need an attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit, but your chances of recovering the maximum amount of damages greatly increase if you have a lawyer on your side.

At Regan Zambri Long, our lawyers are deeply familiar with the legal system in Washington, DC We know how to use all the facts about your accident to build a winning case. Our firm also has the financial backing to take your case to court, if necessary. Smaller firms in the DC Metro Area will refer their clients to Regan Zambri Long if they cannot afford to continue with the case.

The Regan Zambri Long attorneys understand what their clients are going through. They are dealing with physical pain, emotional trauma, exhaustion, and grief. We know that you never asked to be our client. That’s why we will work around the clock to make sure your claim is settled as quickly as possible. Pick up the phone today and call for your no-obligation consultation with one of our compassionate attorneys.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Have you or your loved one sustained injuries in Washington DC, Maryland or Virginia? Regan Zambri Long PLLC has the best lawyers in the country to analyze your case and answer the questions you may have.

Call 202-960-4596

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