Uninsured and Underinsured Driver Insurance
In the District of Columbia, every driver is required to carry automobile insurance that meets certain minimum standards. This is intended to ensure that if a driver is involved in a car accident, the person at fault for the accident will have enough insurance to cover most minor accident costs, including medical bills, property damage, and other costs associated with an automobile accident. The minimum coverage includes:
- Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property Damage: $10,000 per accident
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $20,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: $5,000 per accident
Most drivers can get higher coverage limits, depending on their driving record and how much they want to pay for insurance. Drivers may also purchase underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage and personal injury protection. Drivers have to obtain insurance coverage before they can register a vehicle, or renew their registration. If a driver loses their coverage or fails to obtain insurance, they may be fined for driving without insurance coverage. Drivers are also generally required to provide proof of insurance.
Drivers may opt for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, but it is not mandatory. PIP is intended to pay for the cost of an accident regardless of who is at fault. Depending on who has PIP coverage, the driver can invoke PIP coverage, or make a claim against the other driver's insurance company.
There may be a number of reasons why someone may be driving without insurance. This could occur if a driver simply forgets to pay their insurance bill and their coverage lapses. In other cases, a driver may be operating the vehicle without insurance because they do not have a valid driver's license, their license was suspended, or they are unable to drive because of a drunk driving conviction. In these cases, the driver may be illegally operating the vehicle.
The penalties for driving without insurance may depend on the specific situation. If an individual was driving while on a suspended license and without insurance, they may be arrested and charged with driving without a valid license. Their suspension may be extended, and they may have to pay fines and fees before they can get their car or license back.
Even if a driver has the minimum level of mandatory insurance, it may not be enough to cover the cost of a serious accident. If multiple vehicles were involved in an accident, or if someone is seriously injured, the cost of the accident may quickly exceed the coverage limits. According to Kelley Blue Book, the price of an average new car in 2016 was more than $33,000. However, the minimum level of property damage coverage is only $10,000.
If the driver responsible for the accident does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for bodily injuries and property damage in an accident, the injured drivers may have to seek compensation from the liable driver. However, many drivers do not have enough resources to pay tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, lost wages, and to fix a totaled car. If the driver does not have the money to pay for the damages, the injured drivers may have to find another way to pay for the damage.
Underinsured driver insurance can reimburse an injured driver if the other driver does not have enough coverage to pay for damages. The amount of money a driver's insurance company may reimburse them for bodily injury and property damage may depend on their insurance coverage limits. If you have any questions about getting underinsured driver coverage, contact your insurance company.
What to do if you're in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver?
After a car accident, you may be required to contact the police to report the accident. If the other driver is intoxicated, driving without a license, or driving without insurance, you should call the police to report the accident in order to protect yourself. The other driver may claim they don't have insurance and plead with you not to call the police. However, if you don't report the accident, you may be in trouble down the road if the accident turns out worse than you thought or someone else blames you for the accident.
If another driver does not have insurance, the injured driver may use their own uninsured driver coverage to receive compensation for their injuries and property damage. If the other driver is underinsured for the accident, underinsured driver coverage may cover damages. An injured driver may also file a civil lawsuit against the other driver for compensation for injuries and damages caused by the accident.
DC Uninsured or Underinsured Accident Attorneys
If you were injured in an accident with an uninsured driver or an underinsured driver in the District of Columbia, contact the law firm of Gilman & Bedigian to get the help you need. We will deal with the insurance companies and other drivers so you can focus on recovery. We will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have years of experience handling personal injury and car accident cases throughout the Washington D.C. metro area. Contact our office today for a free consultation.