How Does Washington D.C.’s “No-Fault” Auto Insurance Law Affect Injured Motorists?

When someone is involved in a Washington, D.C. car accident, they are often able to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses through an insurance claim filed with their own insurance carrier. However, an accident victim will not be permitted to recover for their pain and suffering through a claim with their own insurance company. This is due to Washington, D.C.’s no-fault insurance law.

What Is the No-Fault System?

The insurance requirements for Washington D.C. drivers are found in District of Columbia Code Chapter 24. Here, lawmakers have outlined the required amount of insurance motorists must obtain, and the process by which insurance companies approve or deny claims. In addition, the Chapter describes the District’s no-fault insurance system.

Under the no-fault system, a motorist can recover compensation for their injuries without establishing who was at fault for the collision that resulted in their injuries. While this sounds like it may favor accident victims, the system also limits the type of compensation that is available to accident victims to actual monetary losses. Thus, a Washington, D.C. car accident victim will not be eligible for compensation for their pain and suffering or other emotional damages unless they can establish the accident resulted in:

  • “substantial permanent scarring or disfigurement” plus permanent impairment which significantly affects the ability of the victim to work or carry out daily activities; or
  • permanent impairment which significantly affects the ability of the victim to work or carry out daily activities for more than 180 days.

Also, an accident victim may be able to pursue a claim against a responsible party if their medical expenses exceed the amount of insurance coverage available through all applicable no-fault policies. If an accident victim can establish any of the above circumstances, then they will not be prohibited from pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Washington, D.C. accident victims should also be aware that insurance companies will likely bring up the no-fault rule when negotiating. Thus, it is recommended for accident victims to contact a dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney immediately after an accident to assist in the negotiation process and potentially with the filing of any necessary personal injury cases against other motorists.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. car accident, contact the dedicated personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, our Washington, D.C. car accident lawyers have extensive experience assisting injury victims and their families through no-fault car accident claims as well as claims filed against other motorists. To learn more about how we can help you recover for the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-3600 today. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we can assist you in recovering for your injuries.

More Blog Posts:

Court Rejects Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Claim Against Big-Box Retailer in Recent Personal Injury Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 16, 2018

Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Premises Liability Case Stemming from Slip-and-Fall at Doctor’s Office, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, November 23, 2018

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