You’re driving on Granby Street when, all of a sudden, another driver t-bones your vehicle. There is significant property damage and you suffered serious injuries including a sprained neck, facial lacerations, and possible ligament damage. Later, you find out that the at-fault driver had no auto insurance coverage. What should you do?
First and foremost, speak to a Norfolk car accident lawyer. Second, track down your own auto insurance policy and check to see what type of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage you have available.
Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage in the Commonwealth
Under Virginia law (specifically Va. Code Section 38.2-2206), auto insurance companies are required to provide uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (a.k.a. UM/UIM coverage).
Uninsured Motorst (“UM”) coverage compensates you when you are involved in an accident with a driver who has no available auto insurance coverage. UM coverage is also accessible if you or a loved one was the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
UM coverage is accessible to help pay for damages related to your injuries.
Virginia also requires auto insurance policies to provide Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) coverage. This form of coverage helps if you are hit by a driver who has limited coverage. For example, let’s say you have $30,000 in medical bills from an auto accident that happened in Norfolk. The at-fault driver only has $25,000 in auto insurance coverage. You can potentially access your UIM coverage for the remaining $5,000 that is in excess of the coverage available under the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
How a UM or UIM Claim Works
The process is somewhat odd in Virginia. When you hire a Norfolk personal injury attorney, they will handle filing a UM/UIM claim with your insurance company. The company will then pay for expenses and losses up to the amount of UM/UIM coverage on your policy. In essence, your insurance company will “step into the shoes” of the at-fault driver and defend against your claim. Yes, you read that correctly. Your auto insurance company will treat your UM claim the same as if it was filed by a party that was not already a customer. It does not matter if you have been paying premiums for years and been a loyal customer. For auto insurance companies, it is all about the bottom line.
You may pursue financial restitution for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Basically, the damages available are the same as if you filed a claim against the at-fault driver’s own insurance policy.
Contact an Experienced Norfolk Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one is facing the stressful situation of mounting medical bills, lost wages, etc. and discover the at-fault driver lacks adequate auto insurance, contact Emily right away to schedule a free, confidential consultation.