Getting into a motor vehicle accident, whether it is a fender bender or a full collision, can be traumatizing. The physical effects range from life-threatening and/or permanently debilitating injuries to late-appearing wounds, such as head, neck, and spinal injuries. Mental and emotional distress, including PTSD, can stay with you for years. After such a serious accident, drivers rely on insurance to pay for the medical bills and other expenses. But what happens if the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance?
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, the driver at fault has the responsibility to cover medical expenses and wage losses. However, in cases where the at-fault driver doesn’t have any coverage or doesn’t have enough coverage, you will need to file an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim. To be successful, you’ll need an advocate who will fight for compensation on your behalf.
The car accident attorneys at Regan Zambri Long have a proven track record of securing compensation for their clients. Consider allowing an established car accident lawyer to take the lead for your rights to compensation after an accident, and shift your focus on what’s most important: a full and complete recovery.
If you live in the District of Columbia and have been injured in a car accident by an uninsured driver, then you are not alone. According to Forbes, Washington DC saw a 3% increase in uninsured drivers in 2019, totaling 19.1% uninsured motorists operating vehicles in the district. The increase rendered the District of Columbia ninth in the nation for uninsured drivers. It doesn’t help that Washington DC is considered the most dangerous place to drive, according to a 2021 Allstate report. DC drivers are involved in a car accident every 4.7 years – half the national average of once in every 10 years.
The laws are clear about auto insurance coverage in Washington DC. As per the DC DMV, in order for motorists to register a vehicle, they are required to have valid DC vehicle insurance, including uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage coverage. The district mandate for bodily injury coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident, while the coverage for uninsured property damage is $5,000. If insurance coverage is terminated, motorists are subject to fines and penalties if they do not immediately surrender their vehicle tags to the DMV. However, even with those stringent laws there are still plenty of uninsured and underinsured drivers operating vehicles. A reckless moment on their part could not only lead to severe injury and property damage, but could also leave you to foot the bill.
In Maryland, it is also required that all motorists have a minimum uninsured motorist coverage on their auto policies.
Virginia’s laws are a little more different. Virginia allows motorists to drive without car insurance as long as they pay a $500 uninsured motor vehicle fee every time they renew their registration. This can result in more accidents with uninsured drivers. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth had recently changed the way how uninsured motorist coverage works. In the past, if the driver got into an accident with an uninsured motorist, their uninsured motorist coverage would pay any damages after any credit of the bodily injury or property damage liability coverage had been applied. Now, the driver’s uninsured motorist coverage would pay damages in addition to the bodily injury or property damage liability. Because of the change in the law, Virginia drivers may see an increase in their premiums.
If you have been the victim of a hit-and-run accident, or if you were involved in a car accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured, then you should file an uninsured motorist claim. If the driver is uninsured, you can file a claim for full compensation. If the at-fault driver has coverage, but not enough coverage to compensate for medical expenses and resulting wage loss, then an underinsured motorist claim can be filed for the losses that should have been covered.
In many instances, the minimum coverage for bodily injury and property damage will not be enough. In Washington DC, a single ambulance ride to the hospital can start at $735. Then, you have to worry about an emergency room visit, a hospital stay, extensive testing, possible surgery, physical therapy, medications, and follow-up appointments. On top of that, if the car accident results in an injury that leaves you unable to work, there may be months if not years of loss of wages. Our lawyers have helped people just like you file uninsured motorist claims and obtain the compensation they need.
The very first step is to check your auto insurance policy. If your vehicle is registered in Washington DC then you will have uninsured motorist coverage. If you are the victim of a car accident or hit-and-run, you have to notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Detailed information of the accident will need to be provided, including the other driver’s coverage and the extent of your personal injuries and damages to your car.
A hit and run accident is when a driver causes an accident and then flees the scene without identifying themselves, calling the police, or offering aid in any way. Washington DC enforces severe consequences for hit and run drivers, but in cases where the driver cannot be traced or is found but doesn’t have insurance, it leaves the victim to try to recoup compensation on their own. Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia are three of the few states that include hit and run accidents under uninsured motorist property damage coverage. If you have been the victim of a hit and run accident, it would be prudent to contact your insurance company and an experienced car accident lawyer immediately.
Filing insurance claims can be nightmarish. Legitimate claims are often denied, the paperwork is endless, and a clerical or procedural mistake on your part could cost you the money you are owed. In uninsured motorist claims, you will most likely have to deal with different insurers – yours and the other drivers’. With your own insurance company, you will most likely not speak to your own agent, but to an adjuster whose job it is to pay out the minimum of what is contractually owed to you.
This is where the law firm of Regan Zambri Long comes in. The leading car accident lawyers in this firm have recovered millions for their clients. They are results-driven and hands-on attorneys who care about their clients and personally walk them through the claims process. In the most severe circumstances, they will help family members pursue a wrongful death claim to recover the victim’s full value of life, as well as other damages. The Regan Zambri Long lawyers are sought out because they not only understand the ins and outs of DC laws and insurance companies, but they also understand the very nature of what their clients are going through. They know they are coming into your life at a point of extreme stress, physical and emotional pain, and even tragedy – they realize that their clients want results as quickly as possible so they can move on with their lives. They will work diligently to recover the money owed to you including medical expenses, property damage, wrongful death, noneconomic damages, and wage loss. It doesn’t matter where you are in the process – a lawyer for uninsured motorist claims at Regan Zambri Long can jump in and help you recover what is owed to you.
In the minutes following an accident, adrenaline is pumping and your body quite literally goes into fight or flight mode. No one can prepare for something like this, so please take note of what you should and should not do immediately following a car accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) pays for medical bills and other damages to the victims of car accidents when the at-fault driver: a) doesn’t carry insurance, b) doesn’t carry enough insurance, and/or c) whose insurance company denies coverage.
Uninsured motorist bodily injury: pays when an at-fault driver causes an accident.
Uninsured motorist property damage: covers the damages to your car.
Underinsured motorist bodily injury: pays when an at-fault driver causes an accident, but doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your expenses.
Underinsured motorist property damage: covers damage to your car when the at-fault driver doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover the cost to fix or replace your vehicle.
The laws on uninsured motorist coverage vary state to state. In Washington DC, vehicle registration requires the driver to carry 25/50 UM and $5,000 UMPD. You can find the laws state by state here.
No. Drivers cannot combine coverage limits for multiple vehicles.
Set up the claim with your insurance company by calling the claims number displayed on your insurance card.
Do not speak with a representative or an adjuster alone or unprepared. Reach out to uninsured motorist claims lawyers so they can guide you through the process, beginning to end.
Claims investigation: The insurance company will send release forms and ask you to provide information regarding the accident, the other driver’s insurance, medical records, and even payroll records. This is where an attorney helping you with your claim will be vital. The insurance company may ask for information it doesn’t need or possibly shouldn’t even be allowed to obtain. Even though they are your insurance company, they may do everything they can to minimize the payout.
Not necessarily. A lawsuit is only necessary when a fair settlement can’t be reached with the insurance company. If you reach an agreement, the claim can be paid and resolved without a lawsuit.
Statute of limitations in Washington DC is 3 years for bodily injury and personal property damage.
Many insurance companies will want you to begin the claims process as soon as possible.
Take care that hospital stays, surgeries, and vehicle expenses are calculated so there is a rough estimate of how much compensation you should receive.
This varies case to case. However, the attorneys at Regan Zambri Long understand your eagerness to get back to normal. They will work diligently to ensure that you are not only fully compensated, but compensated in a timely manner so you can get back to your life.
The DC Uninsured Motorist Fund is a fund for pedestrians and passengers who have been injured in an accident by an uninsured driver.
Every time we get behind the wheel of a car, there is a possibility we may be involved in an accident. Thankfully, vehicles today are made to absorb the brunt of the collision and many people walk away fairly unscathed. However, if you were the victim of an accident and have sustained injuries and damage, you have rights. Allow Regan Zambri Long to be your advocate through this difficult journey. Their leading attorneys can lessen the burden on you so that you can heal and move forward with your life as quickly as possible.