Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accident in Washington DC
Following a car accident, injured individuals are entitled to pursue a legal claim against the driver who caused their injuries and property damage. In many situations, these damages are covered by the negligent or inattentive driver’s automobile insurance company. At Gelb & Gelb, experienced Washington, D.C. car accident lawyer Roger Gelb represents injury victims in their pursuit of accident-related costs.
Attorney Gelb’s vast legal experience advocating for car accident victims has helped him to develop strategies for seeking judgments in a variety of situations, ranging from those involving at-fault drivers with inadequate motorist coverage for accident-related costs to those clients who rely on uninsured motorist claims to obtain compensation. Clients communicate directly with Mr. Gelb throughout their legal engagement, and will soon appreciate his ability to anticipate and overcome potential challenges to their underinsured or uninsured motorist accident claim. As a dedicated personal injury attorney, Roger Gelb is recognized throughout the D.C. Metro area as a prominent, capable lawyer. At Gelb & Gelb, we are proud to help clients pursue the compensation they deserve, and have recovered multi-million dollar recoveries on behalf of accident victims throughout Washington, D.C.
Pursuing an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim After an Accident
Generally, when a victim files a legal claim against an at-fault driver, that driver’s liability insurance pays the victim’s medical costs, property damage costs, and certain other accident-related costs. In some circumstances, the at-fault driver may carry minimal injury or property damage liability coverage which does not sufficiently cover the victim’s costs. Or, the defendant driver may not carry automobile insurance, in violation of state law. In the unfortunate situation of a hit and run collision, the offending vehicle may have left the scene such that the at-fault driver remains unidentified.
Underinsured motorist coverage protects those hurt in an accident caused by a driver that does not carry enough coverage to pay for the victim’s accident-related costs. Uninsured coverage refers to coverage provided by the victim’s insurance company when an accident is caused by a driver that does not carry liability insurance, or a driver that has fled the scene of the accident. In Washington, D.C. drivers must carry auto insurance known as liability coverage. However, some drivers continue to operate vehicles without coverage. Others carry the minimum amount of coverage that is required by law.
Following a car accident, the first step to recovering damages is for the victim to prove responsibility for the accident. Negligence remains a common cause for car accidents, and the elements required to prove negligence are duty, breach, causation, and damages. To be successful in a claim for damages, the injured party must present evidence showing that the other driver failed to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. This failed duty of care must have directly led to the accident and resulting harm.
Drivers are required to exhibit safe and reasonable driving behavior. Among other conduct, this includes abiding by traffic rules, maintaining a safe following distance, and adjusting speed for weather conditions. When a driver rear-ends another vehicle by following too closely, or aggressively speeds and weaves through traffic, this driving conduct may be deemed negligent because it constitutes a breach of the duty of care. If negligent conduct results in a vehicle crash and harms others, victims are entitled to secure damages from the responsible party.
Damages for Which Victims Can Seek Compensation After a Vehicle Collision
Before determining the value of an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident claim, an injured individual should familiarize themselves with the types of damages for which they may receive compensation. Medical costs related to the accident are typically included in a claim, as is property damage. When vehicle accident injuries prevent an accident victim from returning to work, missed income will likely be included in the claim. If injuries prevent an accident victim from returning to their line of work at all, damages may cover vocational retraining as well.
In most situations, the victim’s insurance company will investigate medical treatment and injuries suffered in a crash. The legal duty of an insurance company is to handle uninsured or underinsured claims in good faith. Additionally, accident victims must cooperate with their insurance company.
When filing an uninsured motorist claim, the attorney that represents the injured individual will work to settle the claim once all costs associated with the accident are reviewed. If the claim is not settled, a lawsuit may be filed. In this case, the lawsuit will be a breach of contract action against the insurance carrier. This is because this type of claim is often termed a first-party claim, as it is the injured party’s own insurance. If the at-fault driver can be identified, the first party carrier may then subrogate against this driver after paying the claim.
Underinsured motorist bodily injury and property damage coverage can help accident victims recover for their medical expenses and their property damage costs. If the victim’s injury claim is valued in excess of the policy limits of the defendant’s carrier, then the victim may file their underinsured motorist claim.
Typically, insurance companies provide a limited time within which an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim must be filed. Additionally, the policy will set forth limits on their coverage, and the types of accidents covered. In some circumstances, coverage does not extend to hit and run collisions. An experienced attorney can advocate for you when you are negotiating with an insurance company.
Dedicated Uninsured Motorist Lawyer Serving the Greater Washington, D.C. Area
If you suffered harm or lost a loved one in a vehicle crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver, vehicle collision attorney Roger Gelb can help you pursue costs associated with the accident, including property damage and medical bills. Mr. Gelb will communicate with the insurance company so that you can focus on recovering. Liability insurers are not always fair when settling claims. As a dedicated personal injury lawyer especially interested in helping car accident victims, Mr. Gelb can help you assert your right to full recovery. To learn more about how Gelb & Gelb can assist with your uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, call our office at (202) 331-7227 or contact us online.