It can be difficult to deal with the no-fault accident injury law in Washington, D.C. However, an experienced attorney may be able to help. At the Roeser Law Firm, we work hard to help clients obtain the compensation they deserve.
Insurance Laws in Washington, D.C.
Because the District of Columbia is no-fault when it comes to auto accidents, anyone who is involved in a traffic collision uses their own insurance policy to cover any damages. It doesn’t matter which party was responsible for the collision. However, having insurance coverage does not mean the injured party can collect for their pain and suffering, although it does cover medical expenses and wages that have been lost from the inability to work.
The Complications of Contributory Negligence
Although many jurisdictions do not recognize contributory negligence as a legal doctrine, Washington, D.C. does. What this means is if the injured party was even slightly responsible for the accident, they cannot recover any damages. One of the problems with this is that the insurance company uses possible contributory negligence to deny the claim. A lawsuit can be filed in civil court against the negligent party, but the claim can be denied if the jury or judge discovers any fault in the accident by the injured party. This means they will be unable to receive any money for their injury.
The Option of Using Uninsured Motorist Coverage
All registered drivers in Washington, D.C. are required to buy coverage for uninsured motorists when they purchase their auto insurance. This coverage pays out $25,000 for an individual in a single accident or, if more than one person is injured, $50,000. Property damage coverage is $5,000 with a deductible of $200. A higher amount of uninsured motorist coverage is offered that pays out $100,000 per individual accident, $300,000 for everyone who is injured and property damage coverage up to $25,000.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage is optional in Washington, D.C. It is offered in amounts up to those in an uninsured policy.
When a Claim Can Be Filed Despite the No-Fault Policy
There are two instances in which an injured party can file a claim directly against the at-fault party, which deal with the amount of damages:
- If an injured party’s medical costs and lost wages are higher than their personal injury protection policy limits, a claim for damages can be filed.
- If an injured party suffered disfigurement, scarring or partial or complete impairment expected to last at least 180 days, they may file for damages.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Claim
In the District of Columbia, an injured party has three years in which to file a lawsuit against the insurance company if the injury loss is higher than the coverage amount. If the claim is filed against a government agency, the statute of limitations is reduced to six months.
How an Attorney Can Help in an Auto Accident
It can be difficult to deal with the no-fault accident injury law in Washington, D.C. However, an experienced attorney may be able to help. At the Roeser Law Firm, we work hard to help clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Our compassionate and seasoned service begins after the initial case review and never stops until you’ve won your case. Call us at (202) 660-4070 and get started. You can also reach out to us online if that is more convenient for you.