A wreck on the interstate north of Roanoke, Virginia (VA), sent several people to the hospital. The incident also likely left more than one victim wondering if they could get insurance to cover all of their medical bills.

The two-vehicle crash happened neat mile marker 168 on I-81 in Botetourt County on the night of January 14, 2022. Virginia State Police and county emergency personnel responded. Responders found two people entrapped in the wreck passenger vehicles, and they determined that three of the individuals involved in the wreck were injured severely enough to require transportation by helicopter.

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The facts summarized above is pretty much all that is publicly known about the wreck. Investigators continued working through the weekend to discover why the collusion occurred. News reports contained no information on the identities of the victims, or on the nature of the victims’ injuries. The one thing my Virginia person injury law firm colleagues and I can be sure of is that several of the people hurt in the crash face long, likely painful and definitely expensive recoveries. We wish them well.

Multiple Victims Quickly Exhaust an At-Fault Driver’s Liability Coverage

Filing insurance claims for the payment and reimbursement of crash-related medical bills will have to wait until State Police investigators release their official report. That report should identify which of the drivers was at fault and, therefore, liable for compensating injured victims. If evidence proves insufficient to assign fault, the people hurt in the crash on I-81 through Botetourt County will still have legal options for seeking compensation.

One significant avenue to explore will be filing uninsured or underinsured motorist claims under their own auto insurance policies. These coverage provisions are required in each auto insurance policy sold in Virginia. As a consumer guide published by the State Corporation Commission explains,

The Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) provides bodily injury and property damage protection to you if you are in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or a “hit-and-run” driver. If your vehicle is damaged by a “hit and run” driver who cannot be identified, you must pay the first $200. Every policy which offers motor vehicle liability coverage must include this coverage. Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage protects you directly in the event you are injured by a driver whose liability limits are not high enough to cover the damages and not as high as the UM/UIM liability limits on your policy. This minimum amount of coverage required by law is $25,000/$50,000/$20,000.

The guide is slightly out of date. Policies issued after the start of 2022 will have higher minimums for personal injury and wrongful death coverage.

Underinsured motorist coverage will probably come into play regardless of what the official crash report shows regarding fault. Few drivers carry enough liability coverage to fully compensate as many as four people who suffered injuries due to the driver’s negligence or recklessness.

Consulting with a Virginia personal injury attorney who has experience advising and representing clients who have underinsured motorist claims will benefit the individuals hurt in the crash on I-81 north of Roanoke. This is especially true because pursuing such a claim amounts to suing one’s own insurance provider.

EJL