Car accidents happen every day on roads and highways throughout Virginia. While many of these collisions are minor “fender-benders” that result in little to no property damage or injuries, others are much more serious in nature. When someone is injured in a collision caused by a distracted, speeding, intoxicated, or otherwise negligent motorist, they have the right to seek compensation through an injury claim, and usually against the other party’s auto insurance policy.
Unfortunately, after exchanging information after a crash, you might discover that the other driver does not have insurance or an adequate policy to pay for your car repairs, medical bills, and other losses. Fortunately, help is available to you. If you’ve been involved in a crash with an uninsured driver, contact a Fairfax car accident attorney at Leary Law to discuss your rights and legal options. Call the office at 703-359-7111 for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
Virginia Auto Insurance Requirements
In Virginia, drivers are not required to carry liability insurance coverage. In fact, people can pay the state’s uninsured motor vehicle fee to legally drive in the state without insurance. The annual fee is $500.
The Commonwealth even helps uninsured motorists stay on the road by financing the fee so drivers can pay over time. This fee is due annually and expires with your registration. According to one study by the Insurance Research Council, 9% to 11% of motorists are uninsured in Virginia.
The approximately 90% of drivers on the road in Virginia who do have car insurance must purchase it from a carrier who is authorized to do business in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles requires minimum coverage on and car insurance policies. This includes:
- $25,000 in bodily injury/death of one person
- $50,000 in bodily injury/death of two or more persons
- $20,000 in property damage
After an accident, a report is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles. If they find the driver does not have insurance, the DMV will issue an order of suspension of the person’s license.
Initially, some people may have had car insurance coverage that met the minimum requirements. However, they may have allowed their coverage to lapse after losing a job or for a variety of other reasons. Some drivers cannot qualify for coverage if they lose their license due to a DWI conviction or have accumulated too many points from traffic violations.
What Are Your Rights If You’re Hit By An Uninsured Motorist?
All auto insurance policies issued in Virginia must offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. The only way to decline this coverage is to do so in writing. After a collision with an uninsured driver, you might be able to turn to your policy to pay for medical bills and other expenses, if you didn’t decline this coverage.
Other insured parties could potentially share responsibility for your accident, even if the driver doesn’t have adequate coverage. For example, if the uninsured driver was in a vehicle insured by their employer, the company’s insurance policy could be in play. Another option might be to seek compensation from the driver’s personal assets through a personal injury lawsuit against them. This is often challenging, however, since the other party might lack the assets to pay for a judgment against them.
Contact a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer For Help
Picking up the pieces after a car accident can be stressful. This stress is often intensified if the person who hit you was uninsured. Fortunately, a knowledgeable Fairfax car accident lawyer could help evaluate your case and explain your rights and legal options.
With the team at Leary Law on your side, you can rest easier knowing that someone is working with the insurance company and other parties to get you the fair compensation you need and deserve.
Contact us today at (703) 359-7111 for a free consultation.