A Virginia Beach, VA Personal Injury Attorney Explains Virginia Under-Insured Motorist Coverage
Having worked in Virginia Personal Injury and auto insurance law for more than 20 years I know what is in the Virginia law and your typical Virginia automobile policy almost as well as the back on my hand. Explaining the law to clients sometimes, though, is challenging in part because, the way insurance law works is not always fair or just.
For example, today I was trying to explain to a client who has a severe injury including a neck fracture and probable traumatic brain injury, that the limits of available insurance for her claim are likely to be $125,000. The problem is that any judgment over that amount can typically be discharged in bankruptcy or simply ignored by the at-fault driver. Even if you obtained a million dollar judgment verdict against the defendant, my client would simply get the insurance money she was entitled to and have a piece of paper saying the defendant owed her money, it is in all likelihood never collectable.
This is often a very difficult thing to explain as well as the complicated way that the insurance policies work in Virginia in figuring out what available insurance there is, you start with the vehicle that you are in and then go to your own car insurance, if different than the vehicle that are were occupying at the time that you got in the accident, and then look at any resident relatives that lives with you who had separate insurance policies on other vehicles. You get to stack all of those 3 policies together to see how much under-insured motorist coverage you have. However, you do not get to add that on top of the insurance the defendant has as there is an off-set against that amount for the amount of insurance the defendant did have. So you are protected with coverage up to the amount of the insurance that you and your family have under the polices to the extent that it is over the amount of coverage for the bad guy whose driving caused the wreck.
Typically it’s a mouthful to try to explain all these rules. Also, each situation is different depending on the cars and insurance policies involved. There can also be the complication factor of other people who got injured in the accident and what their claims are against the policies. If you have any kind of serious automobile accident in Virginia you need to hire an experienced VA Beach personal injury attorney who specializes in handling big injury cases and knows how the automobile insurance law works to maximize your recovery.
The Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Hampton, VA personal injury law firm, Cooper Hurley, handles automobile, truck, and motorcycle injuries as well as wrongful death, railroad injury cases and medical malpractice. John Cooper and Jim Hurley have more than 40 years of combined experience in specializing in auto injury as well as other accident claims. Attorney John Cooper has been named to Virginia “Super Lawyers” since 2010. Cooper Hurley represents people hurt in accidents in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News and throughout VA, and always put the best interests of our clients first. The firm is recognized by other lawyers as “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell, a national attorney rating service, for our top level of legal skill and highest ethical standards. Our motto is: “Your Injury. Our fight.” If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us at (757) 455 -0077 or contact us through this website.