When the question of who is at fault in an accident is up in the air, you may be wondering, if the accident was partially my fault, will my claim be dismissed? What does that mean for my medical bills? How will I financially recover?
Washington, DC follows contributory negligence law which means if you were found to have been even one percent at fault for an accident, the insurance company and other party (if it goes to court), can dismiss your case.
If you are concerned about your part in an accident and worry you will be barred from compensation, call Regan Zambri Long. Our attorneys have experience in complex accident claims and can help you recover the compensation needed.
In the United States, there are two forms of liability under personal injury law. The applicable forms of liability are:
Most states follow comparative negligence which in essence claims that if, for example, one party is 80 percent responsible for the accident, and the other is only 20 percent liable, each party pays for their percentage of damages.
Conversely, under contributory negligence, if one person was in any way negligent in the accident, they cannot collect any damages. In the United States, Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC all follow contributory negligence.
Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, and North Carolina are the only states that still apply contributory negligence to personal injury law when the injured party fails to exercise reasonable care in causing the accident.
Every other jurisdiction utilizes comparative negligence in determining damage awards.
But, if you are worried that contributory negligence will impact your ability to collect damages if you are involved in an accident, there is potential to negate contributory negligence. If you can prove that the defendant was also not exercising reasonable care, or acted with willful intent to cause harm, you would be able to collect damages while the other driver would not be.
For example, if you were hit by a drunk driver but had failed to use a turn signal properly, which you did not have the intention to cause harm to anyone, the drunk driver did not exercise his duty of practicing reasonable care.
In this case, your claim will not be dismissed even if you were partially at fault for the accident.
To negate contributory negligence, your car accident will need to prove that you were exercising reasonable care while the other driver was not.
A personal injury attorney from Regan Zambri Long can help.
In the heat of the moment, you may just start saying things to witnesses and police that may not even be totally accurate. Even if you think you may have been slightly at fault, do not admit it to anyone, especially the police or the insurance companies.
Once it’s on record, there isn’t much an attorney or anyone else can do to negate your liability. Instead, just explain what happened without saying what you think you may have done wrong. For example, if you see a reckless driver swerving in and out of traffic, you may have no choice but to move over to avoid being hit. But, by doing so, another driver merging into that other lane gets hit by you.
If you are not 100 percent sure what happened, do not assume anything.
The insurance companies and the negligent party are going to want to shift the blame on you to avoid having to pay out any compensation. This is why you need to have a personal injury attorney make a claim on your behalf.
The personal injury attorney can prove that you were exercising reasonable care and that the other party was the only one at fault for the collision. An experienced attorney will do so by:
While most personal injury cases are settled outside of court, sometimes you’ll have little choice but to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover the compensation you deserve.
Your personal injury attorney will guide you through the process and, if you are unable to represent yourself, can handle all communications on your behalf while you focus on recovery.
Going to court is likely to be the last thing you want to do, but it can be a necessary step if you wish to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.
Remember, just because you file the lawsuit does not mean you’ll even step foot in court. Sometimes, the act of filing is enough to get the other party to take negotiations seriously.
To have a successful claim, even when you worry you were partially at fault for an accident, there are a few things your personal injury attorney will do to help you not have your case dismissed.
The first is that they will guide you through the legal process. Be it negotiations with the insurance company or representing you in court, an attorney will have the experience and resources needed to negate your liability.
Secondly, they will calculate the total damages you are entitled to by looking at the following elements:
From there, they will be able to utilize documentation to come up with a fair settlement on your behalf.
Finally, they will do the heavy lifting so you can focus on recovery. Getting into an accident is stressful for you and your family. Let Regan Zambri Long handle the rest.
If you were injured in an accident and worry your case will be dismissed because you were partially at fault, call Regan Zambri Long.
Regan Zambri Long is dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. With more than two decades of experience, our attorneys have taken on government entities and giant corporations in the Washington, DC Metro area to get the compensation our clients deserve following a catastrophic accident.
Our personal injury and accident law firm is composed of fierce trial lawyers who have secured record-setting verdicts and settlements for our injury clients. No case is too complex for our attorneys.
Whether you were involved in a car accident, truck accident, suffered a workplace injury, or were hurt by a negligent party in Washington, DC, Maryland, or Virginia, the legal team will put the time, energy, and compassion needed to help you move forward.
For a no-obligation, free consultation, contact the personal injury attorneys of Regan Zambri Long by calling 202-960-4596 or by connecting with us online today.