D.C.’s New Pre-Litigation Insurance Disclosure Law - Leveling the Playing Field will Help Personal Injury Plaintiffs Resolve Claims Faster

 

The Pre-Litigation Discovery of Insurance Coverage Amendment Act of 2012 is now in effect in the District of Columbia and offers a new and powerful tool to Plaintiffs and their personal injury attorneys in settling claims for maximum value.

In January 2013, the Council for the District of Columbia amended the Compulsory/No-Fault Vehicle Insurance Act of 1982[1] to require pre-litigation disclosure of any insurance agreement under which certain persons may be liable to satisfy all or part of the claim or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the claim by insurance companies.  This was done in order to facilitate settlements and “reduce the amount of litigation” in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.[2]

Once the claimant has made a written claim for compensation or damages concerning a vehicle accident, the Act requires an insurer to disclose the amount of its insured’s applicable limits of coverage, regardless of whether the insurer contests the applicability of the policy to the claim.

The claimant must also provide the insurer with the following information:

(1)   The date of the vehicle accident;

(2)   The name and last known address of the alleged tortfeasor;

(3)   A copy of the vehicle accident report, if any;

(4)   The insurer's claim number, if available;

(5)   The claimant's health care bills and documentation of the claimant's loss of income, if any, resulting from the vehicle accident; and

(6)   The records of health care treatment for the claimant's injuries caused by the vehicle accident.[3]

Additional documentation is required if the claim is brought by the estate of an individual or a beneficiary of the individual, whose death resulted from a vehicle accident.

Unlike Maryland’s similar statute requiring insurers to disclose policy limits,[4] the District’s new law does not require the claimant to document health care bills and loss of income of at least $12,500.00 in order for the insurer to be required to make the disclosure. Importantly, the insurer is required by the new law to respond in writing within thirty (30) days of receipt of the request.


[1] D.C. Law 4/155; D.C. Official Code § 31-2401 et seq.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Md. Cts & Jud. Pro. §10-1101-1105

Celeste Cunningham

Celeste A. Cunningham is the Senior Personal Injury Paralegal at Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, P.A. Celeste can be reached directly at CCunningham@JGLLAW.com or by calling 301-220-2200.

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