Common Causes of DC Car Accident Cases

The following is an excerpt of an interview taken with a car accident injury lawyer in DC as they discuss the most common causes of car accidents that happen in Washington, DC and the factors determine a case to go to court.

What Are Some Common Causes Of Car Accidents In D.C.?

Inattentiveness, driver distraction, just plain carelessness, traffic conditions where people don’t allow enough space and are in a hurry and aren’t timely watching out for the traffic conditions ahead and generally speeding, certainly if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and certainly weather can have an impact as well.

What About Texting While Driving, How Does That Impact A Case?

Well, distracted driving is a major problem.  People think they can look at their texts or look at their e-mails or take calls, and their attention is on that and not on the roadway.  Things can change in a split second on the roadway and then by not paying attention they aren’t able to take defensive action to avoid an accident. I It’s become far too commonplace even though most jurisdictions have rules that you’re supposed to at least be hands free and certainly not be texting and holding the phone, yet people do it all the time and accidents happen because they’re not paying attention to the road.

What Damages Can You Recover After A Car Accident Case in D.C.?

The damages consists of past and future medical expenses, past and future loss of income, and pain and suffering, which consists of physical pain, mental anguish, inconvenience, physical impairment, any permanency, and any other out of pocket loss.  Those are the primary categories of damages that can be recovered in a car accident case.

D.C. does not place a cap on damages. Other jurisdictions do, but one benefit of a case in D.C., particularly for large damage claims, is the fact that there is no cap.

How Often Do D.C. Car Accident Cases Go To Trial?

Certainly the courts are full of cases of this variety on a daily basis. I would say a majority of cases do settle before going to court, but a lot of cases still go to court. There may be a single issue or there may be multiple issues in the case. Maybe the insurance company has not valued the case sufficiently, so the offer may be low or a no offer.

The insurance companies rely on property damage in a case as to whether they’re going to challenge injuries or not. The less property damage in a case, the more the insurance companies challenge it.

The insurance companies seize upon that because they’re trying to make a correlation between the property damage and the physical injury. But with the advent of safer, better constructed cars, the damage to the vehicle, particularly if it’s bumper to bumper versus a T-bone, the body still is very affected within the vehicle itself despite the damage to the vehicle not visibly being serious. The insurance companies seize upon that to low-ball or outright deny recovery in cases, and that’s an issue that can end up causing cases to go through the litigation process.

There are many causes as to why a case can go to court. The courts do mandate mediation, so there are opportunities to resolve even cases filed in court before they go all the way to trial. There are opportunities pre-suit and there are opportunities even within litigation to try to get cases resolved.

And then, the parties themselves can agree to go to mediation or arbitration, which are related avenues to pursue resolution of a case short of going to litigation. But there are still a good number of cases that do go to trial when the parties can’t reach an agreement for whatever reason.