This is a question we are often asked by our clients and the answer is – yes, you can. Under Virginia law, if a person who has uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) gets injured by a third-party, and if the damages they are awarded exceeds the at-fault party’s liability insurance coverage, they can file a claim against their own insurance provider for the remaining amount.
How Does It Work?
Let us assume that you have $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage. If you are injured by someone who only has $50,000 in third-party liability coverage, and if you are awarded $100,000 in damages, you can receive $50,000 from the at-fault party (which is the maximum amount they are capable of paying) and receive another $50,000 by filing a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance company.
You can also utilize your UM/UIM coverage to receive compensation for your injuries under the following circumstances.
- If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident and if the at-fault driver cannot be located
- If you are injured by a driver who is not insured at all
The Importance of Buying UM/UIM Coverage
Virginia is one of the few states where a person does not have to buy automobile insurance in order to register and drive a vehicle. Instead of buying auto insurance, the person can choose to pay a fee – commonly referred to as the uninsured motorist fee – to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
When such a person injures someone in an accident, they do not have the means to compensate the victim for their injuries. This is where UM/UIM coverage comes into the picture.
If the victim in the aforementioned scenario has UM/UIM coverage, they can file a claim with their automobile insurance provider and receive compensation (up to the policy’s limit) for their injuries.
Moreover, drivers in Virginia – even if they choose to buy auto insurance – are only required to have $25,000 of third-party liability insurance coverage. If you are seriously injured by such a person, you will only be able to recover $25,000 in damages, which might not even cover a fraction of your medical expenses. This is why it is extremely important to buy UM/UIM coverage in Virginia.
While any amount of UM/UIM coverage can come in handy when you are injured by someone who does not have the means to compensate you, it is advisable to purchase an adequate amount of coverage – which can cover your expenses in the event of a serious injury.
In the absence of sufficient UM/UIM coverage, you might have to pay for your treatment out of your own pocket, which can expose your family to serious financial hardship. It can also make it harder for you to meet the expenses associated with your long-term care – should you need it. You should take these factors into account while deciding the amount of UM/UIM coverage you need.
Do UM/UIM Policies Compensate Policyholders for Injuries Sustained in Hit-and-Run Accidents?
Yes, they do. In fact, this is one of the biggest reasons why people buy UM/UIM policies in the first place. If you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, and if the at-fault driver cannot be located, you can file a UM/UIM claim with your own automobile insurance provider and receive compensation for your injuries.
Does UM/UIM Coverage Extend for Injuries Sustained in Someone Else’s Vehicle?
Yes, it does. If you are injured while riding in another person’s vehicle, and if the person who caused the accident does not have sufficient third-party liability coverage, you can file a UM/UIM claim with your insurance provider and receive compensation.
Does UM/UIM Coverage Extend for the Policyholder’s Family Members?
Yes, it does. If any of your family members are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, they can be compensated for their injuries through your UM/UIM policy. It should be noted that the family member in question must live in your household in order to be able to receive compensation from your insurance provider.
Injured by an Uninsured Driver? We Can Help You!
If you or any of your family members have been injured by someone who is not insured or does not have enough coverage to compensate you, the automobile accident attorneys at Shapiro, Appleton, & Washburn can help you.
We can file a tort claim against the person who injured you and recover the maximum amount of damages possible. Apart from this, we can also help you file a UM/UIM claim with your own insurance company and make sure you are compensated for the tangible and intangible losses you suffered in the accident.
Our attorneys are highly skilled, have an in-depth understanding of Virginia’s tort laws, and know how to negotiate with belligerent insurance adjusters to get the settlement you deserve.
To find out how we can help you with an auto accident claim, call us today at (833) 997-1774 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our Virginia personal injury attorneys.