Who’s to Blame? Labeling the Liable in Washington, D.C. Car Accidents

Nearly every civil legal case consists of one party proving that another party caused damage that would have been avoided had that party exercised proper care and attention. Washington, D.C. auto accident cases are no exception—whether you are rear-ended on the Beltway or side-swiped at an intersection, if you or your vehicle sustained damage because of another driver’s negligence, you deserve compensation.

Before you can collect, however, you are tasked with proving that the other driver caused the accident. There are several methods of accomplishing this, but most attorneys and insurance companies will look at the following:

  • Traffic Laws: While this sounds obvious, the traffic laws that we follow—almost subconsciously—are the first place that attorneys, police, and insurance adjusters will look to see which driver is at fault. Simple things such as speeding and questions of right-of-way can make a seemingly complicated case a matter of black-and-white rules of the road. This can be a two-edged sword, however, and a testament to always driving on the right side of the law; most drivers admit to speeding occasionally or failing to pay attention to the details like turn signals, which can make your case less airtight.
  • Police Reports: Local or state law enforcement officials will often report to the scene of the accident if someone was injured to generate a written accident report. This report will describe the details of the accident, often citing what the officer believes is the cause. This report can be very useful in your case against the other driver—be sure to obtain a copy from the police department following your accident if you feel that it will help prove your case.
  • On-the-Scene Reports and Evidence: Despite their relatively “unofficial” status, witnesses and their reports can be invaluable to a case, as well as any pictures that are taken by yourself or these witnesses. That is why it is incredibly important to get the names and contact information from witnesses on the scene—their account of what was seen can help reinforce your own account.

Regardless of how your accident occurred, the inclusion of an experienced auto injury lawyer is paramount to maximizing your claim and ensuring that your rights are protected. The District, Maryland, and Virginia car accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins have served the people of the Capital District for over 40 years, fighting hard to make sure that individuals and families who have suffered can get the justice, compassion, and peace of mind that they deserve.

If you have been injured in a D.C., Virginia, or Maryland auto accident, contact the lawyers at Lewis & Tompkins today at 202.296.0666 for a free consultation.

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