Personal Injury Attorneys: Price Benowitz LLP
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, be it reckless or intentional, we hope you are on the road to recovery. However, it is likely that some person, company, or corporation is directly responsible for your injuries; or a beloved family member’s wrongful death. If either has happened, our team of caring and experienced DC personal injury attorneys at Price Benowitz LLP is your best option for winning the rightful justice you deserve and the best monetary compensation that District of Columbia law allows so that you and your family can resume your normal lives.
Our team of DC personal injury attorneys at Price Benowitz LLP are well-suited to serving all your needs. We will provide a free and honest appraisal of your case and answer every question you have about the complicated aspects of personal injury law and the equally intimidating claims process. When you call our office — no matter the time — you will immediately speak with a caring and knowledgeable staffer located at our Washington, DC offices.
Your initial, and free consultation appointment will occur very quickly – wherever you wish, even at your hospital bedside — with one of our personal injury attorneys. We handle every one of our cases on a contingency basis, which means you will pay nothing unless you obtain compensation.
We strongly believe that an educated client makes a successful plaintiff. So below is a general overview of personal injury law. It will only take a few minutes and is well worth your time; because the better you understand the basics, the more informed your decision will be when choosing the best DC personal injury attorney to represent your interests.
If you have been injured in Maryland, visit the following page for more information related to that jurisdiction.
Principles of Personal Injury
Personal injury is the legal term given to bodily harm. A common example is a minor auto accident where, a few days later, you can hardly move your head due to severe neck pain. Other examples include a doctor’s misdiagnosis of a “minor bump on the head” after you slipped and fell, and later you begin to show symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Maybe your wife was prescribed the wrong medicine and is now in the hospital, fighting for her life. A careless truck driver plowed into your husband’s car on the freeway and killed him. Or some drunk in a bar threw a bottle which hit you in the face and severely injured an eye, causing permanent damage and disability.
There’s no limit to the ways in which a person can be injured and many cases include more than one defendant. An experienced DC personal injury attorney will be able to assist you in the event you elect to pursue legal action, irrespective of the type of injury you have suffered.
Elements for Personal Injury Claims
It’s important to keep in mind the following four elements that must exist in any personal injury claim:
Injury — Someone must be injured. But not all acts of negligence cause “injury.” This can be confusing. Legally, an injury occurs only when serious symptoms continue after the accident. If you merely slip and fall on someone’s property and only suffer a painful bruise which disappears in a few days, you have not been legally injured.
Liability — The person or business entity you blame for your injury must have legal liability. There must be something that this entity or individual was legally required to do – or not to do – and their failure to do so caused your injury.
Duty (or duty of care) — A person or legal entity is required to act toward others and the public with the “watchfulness, attention, caution, and prudence with reasonableness.” If a liable party’s actions fail to meet their legal standard of duty, then negligence, and damages may be claimed by the injured party. There are several levels of duty which a dedicated DC personal injury attorney will explain during your initial consultation.
Damages — The amount of money a plaintiff (the injured victim) may be awarded in a lawsuit. There are many types of damages, which are also best left for your attorney to explain. But they typically fall into two basic categories: (1) actual damages are those the defendant owes you directly; and (2) punitive damages represent additional monies levied against a defendant in order to punish their conduct.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
There are several basic categories of personal injury cases. Depending on each specific case, the nature of the injuries, and the number of defendants, more than one general category may apply to your injury. Again, your consultation with a DC personal injury attorney will reveal where your unique case applies.
These typically involve autos, commercial trucks and semis or 18 wheelers, motorcycles, and ATVs. Conditions that might affect your case include drunk driving (or driving under the influence of drugs), negligent vehicle repairs, uninsured (or under-insured) drivers, and whether a criminal offense by the defendant caused the incident.
This category covers a lot of ground and many potential defendants. Simply put, medical malpractice is an act or the continuing conduct by a medical professional which does not meet the basic duty of professional competence. An error or omission may be due to negligence, ignorance (e.g. something the professional should have known), or intentional wrongdoing. Doctors are not the only ones liable for medical malpractice. Any licensed healthcare professional, or even a hospital or medical center, can be a defendant in a malpractice suit.
Commonly called slip-and-fall, premises liability refers to the duty of care that a person or company is expected to provide to protect you from harm when you are working at or visiting their property. Construction accidents and workers’ compensation cases usually fall within this category. However, homeowners or renters can find themselves as premises liability defendants as well. There are several levels of duty owed to you by the property owner, depending on the circumstances surrounding your presence at the time of the incident.
This covers everything from pharmaceutical (drug) injuries to defective consumer and industrial products. Often, a case involving the previous three categories might eventually include product liability as well. Examples include defective tires causing your single car accident and you suffered painful burns; a doctor who should have known better prescribed a drug that was recalled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); or your employer failed to protect you from hazardous materials that resulted in injury. There are also single and multi-plaintiff product liability cases, depending on the injuries incurred and the defendant.
Wrongful Death and Survivor Claims
Any personal injury can produce a wrongful death. Grieving family members deserve compensation for not only the emotional loss of a spouse or parent; but financial loss incurred by their family member’s injuries, pain, and suffering. If a spouse or parent is killed and that victim was also in business with the other spouse, or a sibling or child, the loss of services and support to that business represented by the family member’s wrongful death can also be sought.
Statutes of Limitations in DC
Generally, you have three years from the date you were made aware of your personal injury, the act of malpractice, or your product liability injury to file a claim. There are some exceptions, the most common being when the plaintiff is a minor or if the defendant committed fraud in an attempt to hide his or her liability.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
By now, you probably have a lot of questions. That’s understandable. And that is why it is important for you to speak with an experienced DC personal injury attorney. He or she can walk you through the claims process and dispel any fears or concerns you may have.
It’s important to note those who fail to retain an attorney can run the risk of compromising their compensation rights, usually due to the tactics of an insurance company and their team of high-priced lawyers. Well over 90 percent of personal injury defendants are represented by an insurance carrier. Their first line of defense is an insurance adjuster whose job is to offer you the least amount of compensation. Without an experienced lawyer, what do you do? For if you accept an offer, usually far below the true value of the harms and losses you have suffered, you must sign a release. That release can limit your ability to seek further compensation if your injuries, and any related costs, increase in the future. Another advantage to retaining a top-notch personal injury attorney is the comfort that comes from knowing all the calls and bully tactics employed by many insurance adjusters and their lawyers will stop because your attorney will be the only person to deal with these individuals.
In addition to the valuable legal representation you will receive in and out of court, experienced personal injury lawyers also know how to effectively investigate plaintiff accident and injury claims. The evidence they unearth will be used to bolster your claim. Armed with this information, and expert witnesses, they can negotiate for a fair settlement, and you will avoid the need for a costly trial. A settlement can result in greater damage amounts than those you might have secured had you taken the case to trial. And a settlement is often the fastest way to resolve the issue for all parties involved. A dedicated personal injury attorney will know when this option is in your best interest, and when your best course of action is to take your fight to court.
Price Benowitz LLP Can Help
We hope this page has provided you with a greater understanding of the complexities of personal injury law and that it will prove helpful in the decisions that you will have to make going forward. Whatever you choose, you should never under-estimate the advantages of speaking with a DC personal injury attorney. Contact our firm today for a free initial case consultation by calling our Washington, DC law offices, at (202) 600-9400.