Similar to a small group of states across the country, the District of Columbia operates based on “no fault” legislation for car accident claims even when alcohol is involved. This can make it difficult in certain situations for accident victims to file a civil lawsuit in order to collect financial damages. If you’re looking for legal counsel from a top DUI lawyer Washington DC can produce, you might be having trouble navigating the complex accident laws that apply in DC.
“No Fault” Accident Insurance
Certain states (and Washington DC) operate on “no fault” insurance policies in the event of a car accident. “No fault” accident insurance means that each party involved in the accident files a claim with his/her own insurance company rather than with the insurer of the liable party. “No fault” insurance policies can alleviate the problem of uninsured drivers and underinsured drivers in accidents that result in severe damage. However, you might end up seeking legal counsel from a DUI lawyer Washington DC residents can recommend if you were injured in a collision by a drunk driver, and if this collision happened in a “no fault” state.
One defining feature of “no fault” insurance policies is that the injured party cannot file a claim with another driver’s insurer except in specific circumstances involving high medical bills. If your insurance settlement is not sufficient enough to cover medical costs from the accident, you might be permitted to file a claim with the other driver’s insurer in order to cover these costs.
Civil Suits for DUI Accident Injuries
“No fault” laws may also affect your ability to file a lawsuit against the other driver, which is another reason why you may benefit from speaking with a DUI lawyer Washington DC communities depend on about your case. You may not be able to file a civil suit against the driver unless the damage caused by the accident exceeded a certain amount of money.
It’s important to keep in mind, when calculating the total cost of an accident, that the real cost may go beyond medical bills and property damage. Civil suits may involve compensatory damages, which compensate the victim for these costs, and also punitive damages, which allow the victim to seek additional money from the liable driver. Punitive damages are intended as a punishment for the guilty party (because civil suits do not result in punishments like incarceration) and also as a way of humanizing the victim’s suffering. A skilled Washington DC DUI lawyer might even be able to win a settlement that provides higher punitive damages than compensatory damages for a client.
The exact compensation that is provided in each settlement depends a great deal on what happened in the accident and how much damage it caused. In a “no fault” region like Washington DC, it might be even more difficult for an accident victim to obtain compensation through a lawsuit.
When Drunk Driving Affects An Accident
There are many reasons why accident victims decide to seek legal counsel and assistance from a DUI lawyer Washington DC trusts. Sometimes it becomes too difficult to deal with an insurer directly, in which case a lawyer may be able to represent your interests in negotiations with the insurer. Other cases might involve complex liability issues. Alcohol-related accidents are often attributed to the driver who was under the influence at the time of the collision, but this is not always the case. It may be possible for the driver (or their insurer) to argue that he/she was not fully responsible for the accident and therefore should not have to pay a settlement.
In general, a driver who is convicted of DUI in criminal court is more likely to be held liable in civil court (if a lawsuit is permitted). A conviction in criminal court could benefit the injured plaintiff’s case in civil court but it will not necessarily hurt the plaintiff’s case if the other driver was not found guilty in criminal court. In these cases it might even be beneficial to seek a settlement through more informal measures, such as mediation or arbitration. These negotiations can save time and money for all parties involved.
Speak With a DUI Lawyer Washington DC Drivers Rely On
If you’re having trouble settling insurance problems after being hit by a drunk driver, hiring a DUI lawyer in Washington DC may be a good idea. It’s important to look for a lawyer who practices personal injury litigation in the District of Columbia and who is familiar with “no fault” laws as they apply to car accident cases and drunk driving cases.
Cohen and Cohen, P.C. has been practicing personal injury litigation throughout the Washington DC metro area for years and we have won millions of dollars in damages for our clients. We understand that drunk driving accidents may be particularly complex when they occur within Washington DC and we are capable of providing legal counsel in these cases. Even if you are unsure about your ability to file a lawsuit against another driver, we may be able to look at your case and help you determine the options available.
To find out more information about our law firm, or to set up a consultation with a DUI lawyer Washington DC residents deserve in difficult injury cases, contact Cohen and Cohen, P.C. today.