Virginia is an at-fault state when it comes to insurance rules. This means that individuals injured in a car accident must turn to the insurance policy of the driver at fault for the crash. But what happens if the responsible driver doesn’t have adequate insurance or any car insurance at all?
While Virginia has outlined the minimum liability insurance limits that drivers should carry, it also allows drivers to pay an annual fee to bypass insurance requirements and drive at their own risk. When an uninsured or underinsured motorist causes an accident, it can turn into one headache after another for the innocent victims of the crash.
At The Johnson Injury Firm, our Virginia car accident attorneys understand how difficult it can be to get the compensation you need following a crash with an uninsured motorist. You may feel like you are on the hook for all crash-related expenses, and that can be a frustrating feeling since you may have done nothing wrong.
Before you start writing checks, read up on what to do after being hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. If you still have questions or concerns about your situation, contact an experienced Virginia attorney with our firm.
Insurance Requirements in Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia requires drivers to meet certain minimum liability insurance limits. However, there is an exception to the car insurance coverage requirements in Virginia. Drivers do not have to carry liability insurance if they wish to pay a $500 Uninsured Motorist Fee to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers who pay this state fee are exempt from having to carry any form of liability coverage. This fee is not considered insurance. Drives who pay the fee can still be held personally liable for damages that result from an auto accident.
If drivers choose to purchase liability insurance, as most drivers do, their insurance should meet the following minimum policy limits:
$25,000 liability coverage for injury or death inflicted upon one person
$50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injuries or death
$20,000 liability coverage for property damage
Along with their liability insurance, Virginia drivers are also expected to carry uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage as part of their insurance policy. This insurance is designed to cover your losses if the at-fault driver does not carry a liability insurance policy or does not have sufficient insurance. The minimum policy requirements are the same as those listed above.
For victims injured in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, there are a few options for trying to recover compensation for your injuries and property damage.
File an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance carrier – As a victim, you may be able to file a claim through your own UM or UIM policy to recover money for your post-accident expenses and losses. As with any insurance claim, the insurance company will likely try to minimize its payout. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you build a strong claim and negotiate for the money you deserve.
Talk to an attorney about third-party liable parties – An attorney may also be able to help by identifying additional third parties who may be responsible for paying damages following an accident. If the uninsured motorist was driving a company vehicle, for example, the driver’s employer may be responsible for paying compensation to victims of the crash.
File a personal injury lawsuit – Drivers without insurance can be held personally responsible for the damage they cause if they are at fault for causing the accident. Victims may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver and seek compensation for the driver’s personal assets.
Contact a Virginia Attorney Today
If you are the victim of an accident involving an uninsured or underinsured motorist, contact the legal team at The Johnson Injury Firm today. We can help you identify all your legal options and go after the compensation that you deserve. Reach out to our team online or by calling us at (804) 262-9000.