The Law Offices of Chaikin and Sherman, P.C.
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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland Car Accident Lawyers
Most states require motorists to carry some kind of insurance, but we know that not all drivers who are supposed to actually do. If you are involved in an auto accident with someone who does not have auto insurance, or not enough insurance to cover all damages or injuries, your own insurance may cover this - if you have uninsured motorist (UM)/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This may increase your auto insurance premium, but it is there to help in case you are ever involved in an accident with someone who has no insurance, or too little insurance, to cover bodily injury or damage to your vehicle.
All states have different insurance regulations with regard to the minimum amount of liability coverage. For example:
- Washington, DC - $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident; $10,000 for property damage
- Virginia - $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident; $20,000 for property damage
- Maryland - $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident; $10,000 for property damage
It is when these amounts are surpassed that you may be glad you paid that extra money for the insurance policy you have. However, in cases where you did not, or the insurance company refuses to pay due to questions of who was at fault, you should speak to an attorney experienced with UM/UIM accidents. This can become a very complicated process and it is good to have someone who knows the legal ins and outs on your team.
Uninsured Motorist - If you are stopped at a red light in Washington, DC and someone hits you from behind causing personal injury and property damage, but they are uninsured, your UM coverage comes into play.
Underinsured Motorist - This type of coverage comes in when the person at fault has less coverage than the amount of damage to you or your vehicle. If the other driver only has $20,000 of insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company to make up for the difference between the limits of the other party's insurance and what your limits are.
The UM/UIM policy covers expenses for suffering, disfigurement, all medical expenses and property damage.
Why You Need a Washington D.C. Car Accident Attorney
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to collect these insurance benefits. You must exhaust the other driver's insurance liability limits in the case of UIM, and you must speak with your insurance company regarding the other insurance company's settlement offer. And procedural error may cause a forfeiture of compensation no matter which insurance agency you are dealing with. And if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, but your insurance company claims there is no coverage for an accident like that, then you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
An experienced auto insurance attorney can speak with the insurance company or companies so you don't have to, and make sure you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled. Before you consider settling the offer from either insurance company, speak with someone who has your best interests at hand.
If you are involved in an car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist in the Washington, DC, Virginia or Maryland area, please contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata, and Siegel, P.C. We offer a free initial consultation.