DC Car Accident Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit in which a case must either be resolved through settlement or filed with the court. DC car accident cases have certain statutes of limitations that an injured individual needs to follow.

In a typical motor vehicle collision, the statute of limitations is calculated from the date of the occurrence and its length will depend on the claim. For a better understanding of the statute of limitations in a DC car accident case, you should contact a DC car accident attorney right away.

Types of Statues

There are different statutes of limitations for different kinds of cases in DC, meaning that if an individual has a contract case, a car accident case, a wrongful death case, or a survival case, there are different statutes of limitations that apply to each of those particular types of claims. Wrongful death cases have a short amount of time than most auto accidents.

Anyone who has been injured, or a family member has been killed, due to the negligence of another, should consult with an attorney and not rely on misbelief that there is overall a standard three-year statute of limitations in DC, because that is not the case for certain types of claims.


The statute of limitations for DC car accident cases is established by the DC Code and it would require a person to read and interpret the DC Code properly in order to understand or appreciate the applicable statute of limitations for a particular claim.

This type of research can be helpful, but it is always best to consult with an attorney, get a clear understanding from a professional as to what the applicable statute of limitations is for their case, and then that person would be able to rely on that information moving forward.

Statute Considerations

The statute of limitations for a DC car accident begins on the day the collision occurred in the District of Columbia, and it typically will be three years from the day of the collision.

The statute of limitations is different for a minor because a minor cannot initiate a lawsuit on their own. Therefore, the statute of limitations does not start until the injured person turns 18.

Trial Beyond the Statute of Limitations

The endpoint for completion or compliance with the statute of limitations simply has to do with the beginning triggering event which is the happening of the motor vehicle collision and, in order to comply with the applicable statute of limitations, a lawsuit must be filed within that time in most instances.

Therefore, any other factors such as a settlement after a lawsuit is filed or if the case goes to trial or anything else is not relevant to compliance with the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations simply deals with the time in which the lawsuit must be initiated.

It only comes into play if the case is going to settle without a lawsuit and the settlement must be completed within the applicable statute.  Meaning that if an injured person is speaking with an insurance company over the telephone, they agree with the insurance company on a particular settlement figure, and if a check has not been delivered and released at that time, and then that settlement has not been finalized at the end of the statute and then the statute runs. The statute of limitations does not come into play in terms of the trial; the statute of limitations only occurs when the lawsuit is filed. The insurance company will not return any calls to the injured person and that injured person will have no other recourse but to file a lawsuit, and that lawsuit will fail because it will have been filed beyond the statute of limitations.

Working with an Attorney

Anyone who has been injured due to the negligence of another should consult with and retain a DC car accident attorney because of issues such as the statute of limitations. These are factors that can have a significant effect on the overall case and serve as an absolute bar to the case.

Therefore, people should not take it upon themselves or assume they know the applicable statute of limitations. They should consult with and retain an attorney to issue a format.