Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bicycle Provision Inserted in the Pre-litigation Discovery of Insurance Coverage Amendment

In one of the last acts of the last legislative session, the Council voted on D.C. Act 19-646, "Pre-litigation Discovery of Insurance Coverage Amendment Act of 2012". Passing 12-0 (Council member Barry was not present), this legislation amends certain sections of the "Compulsory / No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act of 1982", which lists several requirements that aim to facilitate settlements and to reduce the amount of litigation in the Superior Court.

The amended Section 4a (h) contains the following provision:
(h) For the purposes of this section, the term "vehicle accident" includes accidents involving bicyclists.
This additional provision could have wide ranging effects with regard to protecting bicyclists involved in a crash. What this provision seems to suggest is that if there is a crash involving an bicycle and the bicyclists makes a claim or initiates a court proceeding against another vehicle, then that bicyclist is entitled to information or documentation about the accident from the insured as part of the pretrial discovery process.

The Council Committee report, which provides background on the development of the law, states that 

As required for most legislation, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer conducted a fiscal impact statement  (FIS) to determine if the application of the law is financially feasible. The FIS states that the legislation

Douglas C. Melcher provides a fairly clear analyst of the impact of the law on his site.