Most states require motorists to carry some kind of insurance, but we know that not all drivers that 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 exists 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.
Contact a Washington, DC auto accident lawyer with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. today for a free consultation. We value the attorney-client relationship, and we will work to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you deserve.
What to Do If You Are in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist in Washington DC
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Once a doctor has seen you, you should contact a Washington DC car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney will be able to review your case and help you determine the best course of action.
You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Do not wait to contact a lawyer – the sooner you do, the better chance you have of getting the full amount of compensation you deserve.
What are Washington DC and Surrounding State’s Car Insurance Laws?
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
- Maryland – $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident; $10,000 for property damage
Virginia Liability Insurance Policy Minimum Limits
|Liability Insurance Coverage Requirements|
|Injury or death of one person||Injury or death of two or more people||Property damage|
|Policies effective before Jan. 1, 2022||$25,000||$50,000||$20,000|
|Policies effective Jan. 1, 2022 through December 31, 2024||$30,000||$60,000||$20,000|
|Policies effective on or after Jan. 1, 2025||$50,000||$100,000||$25,000|
When these amounts are surpassed, 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 highly complex process, and it is good to have someone who knows the legal ins and outs on your team.
Uninsured Motorist Claims
There are two types of uninsured motorist coverage you can buy, including:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury – This covers compensation for all injuries you suffer when a driver who doesn’t carry insurance hits you.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage – This covers all damage to your car when a driver that hits you doesn’t carry insurance.
For example, 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 uninsured motorist coverage then comes into play.
Underinsured Motorist Claims
Underinsured motorist 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 $25,000 of insurance, and you had $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your insurance company to make up for the difference between the other party’s insurance limits and your limits, up to the amount of your coverage limits.
Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Claim
If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may be able to file a claim with your own insurance company. This is known as an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim.
Proving Negligence in an Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Accident Claim
For a successful UM/UIM claim in Washington DC, you must prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident. For example, this can be done by showing that the driver was speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or not following traffic laws. An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to collect and present evidence to prove that the other driver was at fault.
Damages for Which Victims Can Seek Compensation After a Vehicle Collision
Uninsured or underinsured coverage pays for:
Disfigurement is defined as “a permanent change in the appearance of a body part or organ caused by trauma, surgery, or disease.” If you have been left with scars or other visible changes after an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.
Pain and Suffering
Suffering is defined as “physical or mental anguish resulting from an injury.” If you have been injured in an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your pain and suffering. This type of damage is usually awarded in addition to other damages such as medical bills and lost wages.
Loss of earnings is defined as “the value of wages or salary lost due to an injury.” If you have been injured in an accident and are unable to work, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost earnings.
Medical expenses are defined as “any costs incurred for medical treatment related to an injury.” If you have been injured in an accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills. This includes both past and future medical expenses.
The DC Uninsured Motorist Fund
Washington DC’s and other states have an uninsured motorist fund which may cover you if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage. Contact a car accident attorney to learn more about how this fund may apply to you.
Washington DC Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
The statute of limitations is the time period during which you can file a legal claim. In Washington DC, the general statute of limitations for auto accident claims is three years from the date of the accident. However, there are different time limits for certain kind of claims. For example, a wrongful death claim in Washington, DC has a two year statute of limitations. In addition, a UM/UIM claim is a contract claim against your insurance company. Contract claims have different statute of limitations, and the date the time limit begins to run may be different. You should contact a Washington DC car accident lawyer, with experience handling uninsured and underinsured motorist claims to discuss the deadlines that may apply to your case.
What Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Can Do For You
The Washington, DC car accident lawyers with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. have a proven track record of success helping clients obtain the maximum compensation possible for injuries they have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our firm has consistently demonstrated we have the expertise needed to help our clients see that justice is served. We have the resources needed to conduct thorough investigations of all the circumstances contributing to a motor vehicle accident, gathering the evidence to establish liability and negligence.
Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has achieved more than $500 million in verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have more than a century of combined legal experience. Two of our partners are certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Our firm has also earned the highest AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, one of the most respected attorney-ranking service organizations in the United States. Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. attorneys work passionately on behalf of our clients to help them secure fair compensation – there is no type of case that is too complex for us to litigate.
How Much Is My Uninsured Motorist Claim Worth?
The best way to find out what your case might be worth is to speak with an attorney with Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our accident lawyers have obtained settlements for various car accident cases.
Here are a few of our case results:
- $6 million for a client who suffered a brain injury after being involved in a rear-end collision.
- $4.8 million for a severely injured client after another vehicle struck his motorcycle.
- $1.9 million for a client who suffered a permanent back injury due to a car accident.
- $1.5 million for a client who had to undergo multiple surgeries after a negligent motorist cut off his motorcycle.
- $1 million settlement obtained on behalf of our 19-year-old client who was a passenger in a car in which the driver lost control, causing a collision. As a result, our client suffered extensive brain damage with cognitive impairment. He was in a coma for an extended period of time. Although he has regained consciousness, he is unable to care for himself. The law firm asked the Court to appoint him a guardian to care for him. The law firm is helping to establish a special needs trust so that the proceeds from the settlement will be protected against any medical liens.
- $1 million settlement on behalf of a client who suffered a brain injury when the driver of the car in which he was a passenger lost control of his vehicle.
Contact a Washington DC Accident Lawyer Today
If you are looking for the highest level representation available for your personal injury case, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, DC Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, DC. We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600 or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.