All drivers must carry some form of auto insurance to operate a vehicle. However, we know that isn’t always the case. But this doesn’t mean you are at a loss for compensation if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. You can generally recover compensation from your insurance company via an uninsured motorist (UM) claim. But how much can you get through an uninsured motorist claim?
The answer is that it depends on the specifics of your accident and the damages incurred. If you or a loved one were involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, a Washington, DC car accident lawyer at Regan Zambri Long can help you get the most compensation through your insurance company.
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If you own and plan to operate a vehicle in the District of Columbia, there are minimum insurance requirements you must abide by. According to the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles, the minimum insurance requirements are as follows:
As noted, two of those requirements include uninsured motorist coverage. But what exactly does that cover, and what limitations exist?
Uninsured motorist coverage, of UM, is a form of car insurance that pays for medical expenses if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident caused by:
Underinsured motorist coverage works similarly and is typically offered with your uninsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage protects you if the at-fault driver does not carry enough insurance to cover the damages for the injuries sustained in the collision.
For example, we know that there are minimum coverage requirements to operate a vehicle legally. If that is all the at-fault driver carried and it was not enough coverage for the severe accident, your insurance would step in with the underinsured insurance to allow you to recover money for your and your passenger’s injuries.
Just like a personal injury lawsuit or any other insurance claim, there is no average amount you can recover from uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
However, your uninsured motorist claim can pay for financial damages such as:
It is important to note that the more severe the accident and resulting injuries, the more compensation you will likely be entitled to.
If your policy includes underinsured motorist coverage, you are entitled to compensation for medical bills, wage loss, and property damage. This type of insurance will cover what goes over the limit of the at-fault driver’s insurance.
In the case of a hit and run accident, only uninsured motorist coverage applies as no driver is identified to know what type of insurance they hold.
Suppose you are a pedestrian or passenger in a car accident with an uninsured driver and do not have a source of recovery for your injuries. In that case, you may be eligible to recover compensation from the DC Uninsured Motorist Fund.
The fund is available at no cost to DC residents. To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:
If you are found at fault for the accident, are insured, own a registered vehicle, or operate the vehicle involved, you forfeit your eligibility for the fund.
You will know within 45 days of your submission if you are eligible for funds.
It’s unlikely that the uninsured driver would face criminal charges for the accident. Typically, a ticket and fine are issued for driving without insurance. But, if there are other circumstances as to why they are not driving with insurance or engage in other negligent and illegal behavior, there can be more severe consequences.
Unfortunately, the insurance company can deny uninsured motorist claims for several reasons. Most commonly, the insurance will deny a claim if they feel the policy you hold does not apply to the damages you seek. Other reasons why your insurer may deny your claim are:
It is critical to report the accident right away to the insurance company. If you wait weeks after the collision, it could be argued that the accident details are hard to prove, too difficult to investigate, and it now becomes relying on your word.
It’s not uncommon for the insurance company to deny a claim based on the projected value. This is especially true in underinsured motorist claims as your own insurance company may feel that you are overestimating its value.
While you may hold adequate insurance coverage to meet the value of your claim, you still need to provide enough proof of the accident. Documents like medical records and bills, mechanics estimates, and proof of lost wages can strengthen your claim.
Because of these factors, you must know what your policy includes. You can face denial if the damages exceed the state minimum mandatory insurance. But you still have options.
Being involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can be a complex legal battle to get the damages you require for your losses. While DC requires certain auto coverage forms, your insurance company can still deny your claim or make it challenging to make uninsured motorist claims.
When the other driver’s insurance isn’t enough, or your accident involves an uninsured driver, Regan Zambri Long can help you obtain the coverage you need to move forward.
Call the District of Columbia auto accident attorneys of Regan Zambri Long for a free consultation to seek compensation for bodily injuries and property damage.