What if I am in an Accident with an Underinsured Driver?
In Washington, D.C., drivers are required to carry minimum amounts of certain types of coverage, including underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. Those who are injured in car wrecks with underinsured drivers may still be able to obtain compensation for their damages from their own insurance company. Under state no-fault laws, it does not matter who was at fault for the accident; injured parties must typically file a claim with their own insurance company first.
What Are the Coverage Requirements in Washington, D.C.?
Motor vehicles registered in any state must be insured with certain types of coverage, depending on state law. In Washington, D.C., the car insurance requirements include minimum amounts of personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage coverage. Additionally, drivers are required to have $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and also $5,000 per accident for uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage.
These laws insure that even if a driver is hit by an uninsured driver or underinsured motorist, their losses will still be covered by their own insurance. If an at-fault driver has no insurance, the other party’s insurance will cover medical expenses and property damage, Additionally, if the at-fault driver has less coverage than the amount of damage caused, the other party’s insurance will make up the difference.
In Washington, D.C., those purchasing motor vehicle insurance also have the option of purchasing higher amounts of insurance, which is up to $100,000 per person or $300,000 for all persons injured in any one accident, and up to $25,000 for property damages.
Are There Exceptions to No-Fault Car Insurance Laws?
In Washington, D.C., each driver in a crash must file with his or her own insurance company first, regardless of who is at fault. This prevents motorists from suing each other for car accident injuries in personal injury lawsuits unless the case involves one of the following exceptions:
- Injuries either causing substantial permanent scarring or disfigurement.
- A substantial and medically demonstrable impairment in performing daily activities.
- A medically demonstrable impairment that prevents the injured party from performing their daily activities for at least 180 days.
- Medical costs arising from the injury that exceed the available PIP benefits.
Those whose cases qualify under any of these exceptions may be able to go outside the no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit against at-fault drivers. However, under pure contributory negligence law, plaintiffs with shared fault may be barred from recovery.
What Does Underinsured Motorist Insurance Cover?
Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage is designed to cover the typical losses arising from car accidents, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is advisable for those seeking to file an underinsured motorist claim to consult with a local attorney for assistance in collecting compensation and ensuring that their rights are protected.
Washington, D.C. Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Those Injured by Underinsured Motorists
If you were injured in an accident involving an underinsured motorist, contact one of our Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced attorneys will deal with the insurance company and fight to obtain the maximum amount of compensation in your case. Contact us online or call us at 202-331-1963 for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., we serve clients throughout Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.