A nighttime crash in the Foxhall section of Norfolk, Virginia (VA). claimed three lives and sent another woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. The fatal single-vehicle accident happened in the 5300 block of East Princess Anne Road near the intersection with Sigmon Street.
Police first received reports of the crash at around 10:30 pm on October 23, 2020. Emergency responders declared the three deceased individuals dead at the scene. The survivor was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
- What to Know About Seeking Compensation for the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
- What Rights Does an Injured Passenger Have After a Car Crash?
- An Overview of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
No other information was publicly available in the days following this deadly crash. We cannot speculate on why the driver lost control of their car, or even whether the driver was the person who lived. We do extend our heartfelt condolences to the friends and family members of the deceased, though. And we wish the hospitalized woman a full and speedy recovery.
Notes on Insurance Coverage for Single-Vehicle Crashes
My Virginia personal injury and wrongful death law colleagues and I can further state that the passengers who either died or suffered near-fatal injuries in this crash almost definitely have grounds for filing insurance claims. Technically, a relative or estate executor would act on behalf of a person who lost their life, but the crash victim would be the individual named in the claim.
Drivers in Virginia, and everywhere else, have legally enforceable duties to operate according to applicable laws and to keep their vehicles under control. A driver who fails to meet those duties by acting negligently or recklessly can be held liable for inflicting injuries on and causing the deaths of people inside and outside their vehicle.
This is precisely why car insurance policies include liability coverage. Each car, truck, SUV, van, and motorcycle owner in Virginia is required to have an up-to-date insurance policy that provides at least $25,000 in liability coverage for a single claim of bodily injury or death and at least $50,000 in liability coverage for multiple claims related to the same crash.
Drivers can buy their way out of meeting this insurance requirement by paying an annual uninsured motor vehicle fee. To protect passengers and others, Virginia further requires car insurance policies to include uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage provisions. These provision allow crash victims to file claims against their own policies when an at-fault driver has no coverage or insufficient coverage.
If the driver who caused this crash on Princess Anne Road in Norfolk died at the scene, the injured victim and the families of the deceased passengers could still file insurance claims. A driver’s policy remains in effect until all outstanding claims are resolved. The insurance company will respond and act as the defendant, which is not really much different from what would happen when any claim for injury or wrongful death compensation was submitted.
Passengers are often not limited to the amount of a responsible driver’s liability insurance limit because their own car insurance policy provides underinsured motorist coverage. If the responsible driver’s coverage is inadequate to compensate a passenger for injuries or a family for a wrongful death, an underinsured motorist claim can be filed. A personal injury attorney must sift through available coverages to analyze the maximum possible recovery.
Importantly, a passenger who is free of fault for the crash that gave rise to the underinsured motorist claim will not have their insurance premiums hiked. State law in Virginia prohibits an insurance company from raising it rates in this situation.