Do you know how many uninsured drivers see you on an average day? It is probably a lot more than you think. Indeed, many people are stunned to learn just how many uninsured drivers are on the road. The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates that 9.9 percent of all motorists in the Commonwealth of Virginia lack valid auto insurance.
This raises an important question: What happens if an uninsured motorist is at fault for your accident? How do you recover financial compensation? Here, our Virginia Beach car accident lawyer answers those questions by explaining four of the most important things to know about uninsured motorist cases.
- Virginia Has Minimum Insurance Requirements
First and foremost, it is important to understand that Virginia has minimum insurance requirements. As explained by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers who purchase auto insurance should carry at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in liability coverage. Though, you can, and maybe should, get more liability insurance than that.
However, the Commonwealth has some unique regulations in place. Unlike many other jurisdictions in the United States, Virginia lets motorists opt out of the insurance coverage requirements. By paying a $500 fee, drivers can operate at their own risk in Virginia. Of course, there are many drivers who do not pay this fee and still do not purchase coverage.
- Uninsured Drivers Can Be Held Personally Liable—But May Not Have Assets to Pay
To be clear, an uninsured driver can be held legally liable for any collision that they cause. Indeed, they are liable if they cause a crash through their negligence. If you were injured in a collision with an uninsured driver in the Hampton Roads region, you can file a claim directly against that motorist. In some cases, this is the best option and it will offer a path to full compensation for your damages.
That being said, this is not always a viable option in the real world. While you always retain the right to file a personal claim against an uninsured or underinsured driver, many of them have little or no assets to cover a personal injury claim. Unfortunately, only limited compensation may be available through this path.
- Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Provides Protection
Another path to compensation is through your own insurance company. This is especially effective if you have uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. As there are so many uninsured drivers in the Hampton Roads region, it is recommended that you obtain this type of coverage. We can help you pursue a claim against your own insurer.
- Protect Your Rights By Documenting the Collision
You should always take proactive steps to document a car accident—it is even more important in uninsured motorist cases. Make sure you get the other driver’s name, vehicle information, and contact details. Additionally, take photographs of the collision and report the accident to law enforcement or to the Virginia DMV. The more evidence you have, the easier it will be to make a claim in a contested case. An experienced Hamptons Road car accident attorney will help you explore every available path to financial recovery.
Speak to Our Virginia Beach Car Accident Attorney Right Away
At Barney Injury Law, our Virginia auto accident lawyer has the skills, tenacity, and training needed to handle complex uninsured motorist claims. If you were hurt in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, we are here to help. To get a no fee, no obligation case evaluation, please contact us today. We represent injured victims in Virginia Beach and throughout the surrounding communities in the Hampton Roads region.