Car Accident FAQs for Washington DC

Two cars get involved in a rear-end traffic accident.
Car crash claims in Washington DC can be confusing. Make sure you know about your legal rights before taking any steps that could impact the outcome of your car accident case.

Car accidents in Washington DC resulted in 37 deaths in 2020. Many more people sustained injuries in car wrecks, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and passengers. Car crashes are common in the District. For that reason, it is a good idea to know specific car accident FAQs if you live, work, or visit Washington DC.

Five Car Accident FAQs for Washington, DC

Five car accident FAQs for Washington DC traffic accidents include:

Washington DC is a No-Fault Insurance District

Washington DC is a no-fault insurance district. Accident victims file a no-fault insurance claim with their PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance coverage for medical bills and income loss.

However, PIP insurance does not compensate victims for other damages, including pain and suffering. PIP insurance may not compensate an accident victim fully for damages, especially when the victim sustains traumatic injuries or permanent impairments.

Accident Victims Can Sue Drivers in Washington DC for Damages In Some Cases

Drivers in Washington DC are required to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance for car accidents. Liability insurance compensates accident victims for damages caused by a car accident that is the insured driver’s fault.

However, before you can sue a driver for car accident damages, you must meet one of two thresholds:

  • Your loss of income and medical bills exceed the limits of your PIP insurance policy
  • Your injuries meet the serious injury threshold (i.e., permanent disfigurement, scarring, or impairment or complete impairment for 180 days or longer)

Deciding how to proceed after a car crash can be confusing. Talking with a Washington DC car accident lawyer can help you avoid making a mistake that could cost you thousands of dollars.

The Statute of Limitations Applies to Car Accidents

In most cases, accident victims have three years from a traffic accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, that deadline could be shorter depending upon the facts of your case. It is always best to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to avoid losing your right to file a lawsuit for a car accident claim.

Contributory Fault Could Bar You from Recovering Compensation for a Car Crash

Washington DC is one of the few jurisdictions that use pure contributory negligence for car accidents. If an accident victim contributed to the cause of a car accident in any way, the law bars the victim from receiving compensation from the other party. In other words, if you were even one percent at fault, your injury claim against the at-fault driver is barred, regardless of the severity of your injuries.

However, the District did adopt an exception for pedestrians and bicyclists in 2016. There is a 51 percent bar rate that applies in these cases instead of “any” level of fault.

Contact a Washington DC Car Accident Attorney Before Talking to the Insurance Company

The insurance company for the other party may contact you to request a statement regarding the accident. The adjuster may want you to answer questions. It is not in your best interest to make a statement or sign any documents until you meet with a Washington DC car accident lawyer.

The insurance company could twist anything you say to accuse you of contributing to the car crash. If so, you could be barred from recovering money for your claim.

Car crash claims in Washington DC can be confusing. Make sure you know about your legal rights before taking any steps that could impact the outcome of your car accident case.

Schedule a free consultation to talk with a car accident attorney in Washington, DC. Let us fight for your right to receive fair compensation for your car accident injuries and damages.

Zeke Roeser


3000 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 140
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 660-4070