District of Columbia Negligence Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 07, 2019
The vast majority of injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. An individual who fails to act in a reasonable manner -- they knew or should have known better -- and as a result causes an injury to another may be found negligent. When a court rules that the defendant is negligent, they're held liable for damages related to the injury. For instance, a distracted driver who crashes into another motorist, causing injury, may be held liable for hospital bills, lost wages, damage to their vehicle, and other losses stemming from the negligent act.
In the District of Columbia, plaintiffs may not be able to collect for damages if they only shared a small amount of fault for the accident. The following sections summarize negligence laws and procedures in Washington, D.C., including details about contributory negligence and links to code sections.
District of Columbia Negligence Laws at a Glance
If you've been injured and believe someone else was at fault, the last thing you have time for is deciphering complex statutory language. Information on how the District of Columbia handles negligence claims is listed in the following chart, written in "plain English" for your convenience.
|District of Columbia Code, Section 35-302
|Contributory Negligence: Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery
|Pure Contributory Negligence: A plaintiff's negligence (even as little as 1%) is a bar to recovery except the liability of common carriers for injuries to employees, when plaintiff's negligence is slight and employer's is gross.
|Contribution Among Tortfeasors
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Elements of a Negligence Case
A plaintiff must be able to prove the following five elements in order to collect damages for injuries resulting from the defendant's negligence:
- Defendant owed a duty to commit an act or refrain from committing an act;
- Defendant breached this duty;
- This breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff;
- Defendant's actions (or inactions) were the proximate cause of the injury (the defendant should have known that this action could have caused injuries); and
- Plaintiff suffered actual damages (i.e., lost wages, hospital bills, suffering, etc.).
Research the Law
- District of Columbia Law
Official State Codes - Links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and DC.
District of Columbia Negligence Laws: Related Resources
- Proving Fault: What is Negligence?
- District of Columbia Civil Statute of Limitations
- Defenses to Negligence Claims
- District of Columbia Car Accident Compensation Laws
- District of Columbia Dog Bite Laws
Filing a Negligence Claim? Get Help From a Washington, D.C. Attorney
If you've been injured in the District of Columbia due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for compensation. Your best option is to work with a legal professional, who can help you determine your next move. Contact an experienced D.C. personal injury attorney near you today.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
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