Changes in Insurance Law Helps Personal Injury Plaintiffs
by Jeffrey J. Downey, Esq
Virginia has enacted a statute, effective January 1, 2022, which increases Virginia’s minimum liability insurance requirements.
The statute, Va. Code §46.2-472, requires a minimum of $60,000 in body insurance/death coverage per accident per accident and $30,000 bodily injury or death coverage per person. This increases the prior $25,000 coverage per person by $5,000 dollars.
A Fairfax Circuit Court Judge recently issued a ruling addressing whether the change in law increasing the minimum coverage limits would impact a Plaintiff’s status as an uninsured motorist, effectively holding that the increased requirements for coverage should apply to new and renewal policies effective on or after January 1, 2022.
This is not a huge increase, explains Fairfax personal injury attorney Jeffrey Downey, but an increase is long overdue. Anyone buying insurance these days also needs significant Uninsured Motorist Coverage, which is insurance that covers you when the person causing the accident has no insurance or minimal limits. Typically, no auto insurance is given in Virginia without Uninsured or Underinsured insurance coverage. However, the minimal limits are never enough to protect your interests and most drivers should carry at least a $300,000 policy to be safe
While Virginia allows a person to opt to drive without insurance (if you pay a fee to the DMV), this would put you in major financial jeopardy, should you get into an accident. A judgment could be entered against you personally and your bank account and work salary could be garnished for a period of ten years, forcing people to file bankruptcy. You can also lose your license to drive for judgments that remain outstanding in Virginia.
Effective July 1, 2023, Virginia law also changed to eliminate the UIM credit that would typically apply to insurance policies. For example, if you had $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage and the defendant driver had $50,000, under prior law that you would have to deduct the $50,000 from the driver’s policy for a total of $100,000 in coverage. Now, that deduction does not apply so the insured party would have the benefit of $150,000 in coverage. This new law applies to policies issued or delivered after July 1, 2023, including renewal policies.
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Insurance coverage questions can be complicated. You should consult with an attorney early in the claims process to make important decisions not only on your car insurance, but also how to pay bills through your health insurance and Med Pay.
Virginia personal injury attorney Jeffrey Downey has over 30 years of experience handling automobile cases. He started his career as an insurance defense lawyer, and now uses that experience to help his clients battle insurance companies. Take a look at what our clients are saying about the quality of our representation. (https://www.jeffdowney.com/client-testimonials/).
The firm handles cases in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC
McLean, Virginia Office Location:
8300 Greensboro Drive, Suite 500
McLean, VA 22102
On the web at Jeffdowney.com