Being hurt in an accident that you did not cause can be frustrating. But dealing with the consequences of the accident can be even more challenging if the driver who hit you did not have liability insurance. Fortunately, you may still have options for obtaining financial recovery after a crash with an uninsured driver.
If you were injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, reach out to us online or call Arrington Schelin to speak with one of our Virginia car accident lawyers in a free consultation. For more than 40 years, our attorneys have been standing strong for car accident victims. Let us fight for you.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Your own uninsured motorist (UM) coverage can kick in when you are hurt by a driver who does not have the liability insurance coverage required by law. Your uninsured motorist policy could also come into play if the other driver flees the scene of the accident and cannot be identified and located.
In these cases, your own insurance policy effectively provides the coverage and compensation that should have been provided by the at-fault motorist.
What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage can provide compensation when another driver causes a crash and your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage can typically only be invoked when the insured’s UIM policy limit exceeds the liability insurance coverage limit of the at-fault driver.
With UIM coverage, the injured party’s insurance company steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver’s insurer to provide greater compensation than the at-fault driver are capable of providing.
Is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Required in Virginia?
Under Virginia law, insurers are required to provide uninsured motorist coverage in all policies at least at the minimum liability limits required by law, which include:
- $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident of death/bodily injury coverage
- $20,000 per accident of property damage coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage must equal the liability coverage purchased under the policy unless the policyholder elects a lower UM coverage limit. Uninsured motorist coverage may not exceed the policy limit for liability insurance.
Underinsured motorist coverage is not required in Virginia but may be optionally purchased by policyholders.
Why You Need UM/UIM Coverage
If you drive a vehicle in Virginia, you should strongly consider purchasing maximum uninsured /underinsured motorist coverage.
Some drivers in Virginia choose to pay the $500 fee charged to vehicle owners who fail to purchase the minimum insurance required by law. Therefore, they are driving without any insurance coverage. Other drivers only purchase the minimum policy limits required by law.
As a result, many drivers out there on the road lack the insurance coverage necessary to fully compensate you in the event of a serious accident. UM/UIM coverage could protect you by ensuring you get the financial resources you need to treat injuries after a serious accident.
What Compensation Can You Recover in a UM/UIM Claim?
When you file a UM/UIM claim with your auto insurance company, you can pursue compensation for the same losses you would have been entitled to obtain from the at-fault driver, including:
- Costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident
- Long-term care expenses for disabilities caused by injuries
- Lost wages or income from missed work
- Lost future earning capacity if you cannot go back to work due to permanent disabilities
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver in Virginia
If an uninsured or underinsured driver caused your crash, you can take steps to protect your legal rights, including:
- Document the accident scene by exchanging information with each driver involved. Use your phone to take photos or videos of details like vehicle damage or skid marks on the road. Speaking to any eyewitnesses and get their contact information.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible to have a doctor diagnose and treat any injuries.
- Follow all treatment instructions. This includes getting necessary diagnostic tests and attending all follow-up appointments.
- Keep copies of all bills, invoices, and your pay stubs or income statements.
- Talk to an attorney as soon as possible to learn about your legal rights. You have limited time to file a UM/UIM claim. So the sooner you have an attorney on your side, the better.
How an Uninsured Motorist Claim Attorney in Virginia Can Help
If the driver who hit you did not have insurance or had minimal insurance coverage, get legal advice now. An uninsured motorist claim attorney from Arrington Schelin could assist in your claim by:
- Investigating the accident you were involved in to recover all necessary evidence
- Identifying all potential sources of compensation, including whether the at-fault driver has insurance and the coverages under your own auto insurance policy
- Documenting the full extent of your losses
- Preparing an effective, persuasive case for maximum compensation
- Filing your UM/UIM claim with the insurance company and managing all negotiations
Contact Arrington Schelin today for a free, no-obligation case review. A Virginia uninsured motorist claim attorney can guide you through the process of filing a UM or UIM claim and manage your case from start to finish. Call us or reach out to us online to speak with a member of our team today.
We represent accident victims in Bristol, Marion, Norton, Abingdon, Tazewell, Wise, Lebanon, Grundy, and throughout Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.