Our client works as an engineer in Norfolk and he was leaving the gym after a workout when another driver actually drove up on the sidewalk and struck him as a pedestrian. Our client suffered serious injuries to his lower leg. As it turns out, the driver of the vehicle was drunk and was found to have registered a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .17, over two times the legal limit.
KEY LEGAL STRATEGY:
We learned that the drunk driver, who was operating her vehicle in Chesapeake at the time, only carried $100,000.00 in liability coverage on her own vehicle. The question then became whether we could obtain additional coverage through what is called underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage on our client’s own vehicle policy.
I advised my client that obtaining additional possible compensation from their own policy would not cause their rates to go up or increase their premiums. In Virginia, as in most states, if another driver is at fault in causing personal injury, obtaining further benefits under your own uninsured motorist coverage cannot result in increased premiums by your own insurance company.
Ultimately, our client had to undergo four separate surgeries for his lower leg. Also, I advised our client that there was a chance we could sue the drunk driver for punitive damages (i.e. punishment damages). However, that threat would not result in more insurance coverage in this case. In other words, we still couldn’t get more than $100,000.00 in coverage.
$100,000 settlement (policy limits available)
Emily Brannon, personal injury attorney in Virginia (VA)
Paula Morris and Nilda Luca