Things to Know if Injured in a Washington, D.C., Car Accident
Every year hundreds of people are involved in auto accidents in Washington, D.C. According to Washington, D.C., car accident statistics, more than 30 people die in car crashes in the district every year.
If you were injured in a Washington, D.C, car accident that was someone else's fault, whether you live in Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights or Georgetown, there are a few key things you may want to know. You probably want to know what information to retain, what compensation is available to you and how to hire a Washington, D.C, auto accident lawyer.
Washington, D.C., Car Accident Documentation
It is important that you retain certain key documents after you've been injured in an auto accident. This documentation will not only be used throughout your case as evidence to support your claims, but you will need it when you set up initial consultations with Washington, D.C, auto accident lawyers.
The following are some of the documents you should retain for the purposes of your auto accident case:
- Your accident report
- Any notes from your doctor describing your injuries
- Copies of your medical bills, auto repair bills and other accident-related expense
- Documentation pertaining to any work you missed due to your injuries
- Copies of any correspondence you had with your insurance company, the other driver's insurance company, the other driver or the other driver's attorney
Keep these documents in one place, so they will be close at hand. Make copies in case you lose something.
Car Accident Damages
When you are injured in a car accident in Washington, D.C., that is someone else's fault, there are certain awards, or damages, available to you. When you file a lawsuit, you are trying to recover these damages to help cover your expenses caused by the accident.
The main type of damages you will be seeking in court is what are known as compensatory damages. These include all past and future financial losses, such as your medical bills or wages lost due to your injuries. This can also include compensation for any pain and suffering you sustained due to the accident.
In some instances, depending on the specific facts of the Washington, D.C., auto accident case, you may be entitled to what are known as punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the driver who caused your injury. You will only be awarded such damages if the other driver exhibited behavior that was reckless or malicious. For example, if the driver was driving drunk when he or she injured you, you may be entitled to punitive damages.
Hiring a Washington, D.C, Auto Accident Lawyer
Finally, you will need to hire a Washington, D.C., auto accident lawyer to represent you in your personal injury case. There are a number of factors that should go into your decision when selecting a lawyer. You can assess the prospective attorney during an initial consultation. This is a meeting you set up with a lawyer before hiring him or her to see whether the attorney is a good fit for you and your case.
During you consultation, you will want to ask the Washington, D.C., lawyer about his or her experience. Has the attorney handled cases like yours before? Does the attorney mainly work on auto accident lawsuits? What law school did the attorney attend, and when did he or she graduate?
You will also want to understand the fee arrangement the attorney uses. Some attorneys use an hourly rate, meaning they charge you for the amount of time they work on your case. Others charge a flat fee, which is a single fee up front. However, most personal injury lawyers charge a contingency fee, meaning they take a percentage of any award settlement you receive.
You should also assess the attorney's legal strategy. After you have shared the facts of your case and supporting documents with the attorney, he or she should provide you with an assessment. Do you agree with this assessment? Does it make sense to you? If not, it may not be a good match.
Finally, you should assess how comfortable you are with the accident attorney. Is the attorney patient, and does he or she answer all your questions? Do you trust him or her? You will potentially be working with the attorney for a long time, so it is important that you feel it is a good match.
Once you have consulted with a number of attorneys, you can then go over these various factors and pick the Washington, D.C., car accident lawyer who best fits your needs and criteria.
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