What if the Other Driver Doesn't Have Insurance?

It’s bad enough when someone causes an accident – injuring you or your family and damaging your car. But you'll be in serious trouble if you are seriously injured and the other driver doesn't have enough insurance or worse, no insurance at all.

Most states require automobile liability insurance – D.C., Maryland and Virginia all do. And driving without insurance can mean a fine or even jail time for serious offenses. But the legal limits may not cover your injuries if you need surgery. But even mandatory laws aren’t particularly effective. Drivers required to have insurance when they register a car don’t always pay the premiums to keep the insurance coverage. And a fine, or even jail time, won’t help pay damages caused by irresponsible drivers.

What Are the Different Types of Insurance I Can Carry?

Automobile liability insurance covers you if you are in an accident with someone else and it is your fault. Your insurance company will pay the other driver’s damages – car repairs, medical bills, lost income.

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your family if you get hit by a driver without insurance. You can purchase this coverage – often called UM or UIM – from your car insurance company, and like liability coverage, you can purchase coverage up to certain limits.

For example, the minimum insurance required in the District of Columbia is $25,000.00. This means if you were hurt by a driver who didn’t have insurance, your insurance company would pay you up to $25,000.00 for your medical bills, lost income, permanent injuries, pain and suffering caused by the accident.

What if you get seriously hurt by a driver who has insurance – but only has the minimum required? What if your medical bills are more than $25,000.00 and you can’t work? If your UM insurance has a higher policy limit than the limit of the driver who caused the accident, then the other driver is underinsured. This means your company will step in and pay the difference between the other driver’s policy and your limit. In the same example, if you had a UM policy limit of $100,000.00, your insurance company would pay up to $75,000.00 (in addition to the $25,000.00 from the other driver) to compensate you for your injuries.

Every day the news reports serious crashes on the Beltway. The question you should ask yourself is: “Am I really protected if I get hurt by a driver without insurance?” If not, call your insurance company and increase your limits. Protect yourself and your family from the irresponsible drivers we see every day. And if you are in an accident, act quickly to protect your rights. Get proof of the other driver’s insurance, get the police report and contact your own insurance company.

Contact the experienced car accident lawyers today at Donahoe Kearney at 202-393-3320 if you were hit by someone without enough coverage and now you are making claims under your own policy.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer