District of Columbia Negligence Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

The vast majority of injury cases are based on the legal theory of negligence. An individual who fails to act in a reasonable manner -- i.e. he or she 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, he or she is held liable for damages related to the injury. For instance, a distracted driver (perhaps typing out a text message and failing to look at the road ahead) 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.

Negligence Law in Washington, D.C. at a Glance

Information on how the District of Columbia handles negligence claims is listed in the following chart. See FindLaw's Negligence section for more articles.

Code Section None
Comparative Negligence -
Contributory Negligence-Limit to Plaintiff's Recovery Pure Contributory Negligence: 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. See §35-302  
Contribution Among Tortfeasors No
Uniform Act -

Note: State laws are subject to change through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. We strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, but you also may want to contact a District of Columbia injury law 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:

  1. Defendant owed a duty to commit an act or refrain from committing an act
  2. Defendant breached this duty
  3. This breach of duty caused injury to the plaintiff
  4. Defendant's actions (or inactions) were the proximate cause of the injury (the defendant should have known that this action could have caused injuries)
  5. Plaintiff suffered actual damages (i.e., lost wages, hospital bills, suffering, etc.)

Research the Law

District of Columbia Negligence Law: Related Resources

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.