New Year’s Eve 2020 ended in tragedy for four young adults on a rural highway about halfway between Washington, DC, and Charlottesville, Virginia (VA). According to a state police press release issued three days after the deadly incident, a single vehicle ran off Mitchells Road/VA Route 652 in an unincorporated section of Culpeper County and slammed into the tree.
The crash happened near the intersection with Cedar Mountain Road/VA Route 649 at approximately 11:25 pm. The female driver died at the scene, and three passengers were transported to UVA Medical Center with injuries that were described as serious but not life-threatening. News reports identified those individuals only as a 22-year-old male, a 23-year-old female and a 24-year-old female.
- What Rights Do Passengers Who Suffer Injuries in Car Crashes Have?
- When Is the Driver in a Single-Vehicle Crash Liable for Compensating an Injured Passenger?
- Can Passengers File Insurance Claims Following Car Crashes?
Authorities released no information of why the car left the road. The press release states only that the driver “failed to maneuver a curve” and that the investigation into the fatal single-vehicle crash occurred.
What Happens When No Other Driver is Involved?
My Virginia personal injury and wrongful death law firm colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to the family of the woman who lost her life. We also wish full and speedy recoveries for the injured passengers.
Our decades of experience lead us to understand that the survivors have started asking questions about how they will pay their medical bills and replace any income they must forego while being laid up and unable to work. Two options for seeking compensation exist.
Assuming the driver carried full insurance in compliance with Virginia law, the surviving crash victims should be able to file claims against the woman’s policy. The coverage will remain in effect until all outstanding claims are resolved.
The other option is filing uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) claims with their own car insurance providers. This may prove necessary in any event since few drivers carry enough liability insurance to pay months’ worth of medical bills for three people.
Virginia requires every car insurance policy sold in the state to include UM/UIM provisions. The coverage can be invoked whenever injuries or deaths are caused by a driver who either lacks insurance altogether or who has coverage limits that will be reached before each crash victim is fully compensated.
UM/UIM claims proceed much the same way as claims against another person’s insurance. That means the crash victims’ insurers will demand police reports, medical evidence and other information to substantiate claims. The insurers may also contest or deny claims, at which time consulting with a personal injury attorney will make sense.