What can you do if you are injured by an uninsured driver in Virginia?
In Virginia, drivers are only required to have $25,000 in liability insurance coverage per person and $50,000 per accident. That means if you are injured in an automobile accident in Virginia it is possible that the other driver only has $25,000 in liability insurance to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It is crazy that Virginia has not raised the minimum insurance requirements in decades even though medical bills have gone through the roof. What makes it even more ridiculous is that it costs very little to increase liability limits to over $100,000. In many cases monthly premiums will only go up by a couple dollars.
While there is nothing you can do to make other people purchase adequate insurance, you can protect yourself. I strongly advise you to contact your insurance representative and get a quote for raising your automobile insurance policy limits. The phone call will be free and any increased premiums may be shockingly low. A good agent may also find ways to do it without raising your premiums by curtailing unnecessary coverage. You should ask specifically about your uninsured motorist coverage. That is what protects you if you injured by an uninsured motorist or an "underinsured motorist."
Here's how uninsured motorist coverage works: If you are injured by an uninsured driver, your insurance carrier must compensate you for your personal injuries (including medical bills and lost wages) so long as you can prove the other driver was at fault. If the other driver has less insurance than you have, your insurance company will pay the difference if your injuries exceed the other driver's insurance coverage.
Let's say you have an insurance policy with $300,000 in uninsured motorist benefits. You or a family member living in your household suffers severe injuries in a tragic automobile accident. The other driver only has $25,000 in coverage even though your medical bills are far in excess of $25,000. If the driver's insurance company pays the $25,000 then your insurance company may have to pay you up to $275,000 for a total of $300,000 in compensation. Your automobile insurer may seek reimbursement from the other driver through subrogation. In most cases your premiums will not increase.
If you have any questions about how uninsured motorist coverage works in Virginia, please contact me and I'll be happy to answer your questions. Here is a link to more information regarding the rights of victims of automobile accidents in Virginia.