Car crashes can be incredibly expensive. They can total your vehicle and put you in the hospital. Not only could you have major medical bills to pay, but you may also go weeks without working because of your injury, resulting in significant lost wages.
You can count on the insurance carried by the other driver to compensate you when they cause a crash that hurts you. Unfortunately, people affected by Virginia motor vehicle collisions often learn after a wreck that the driver who caused the crash is underinsured.
Why are underinsured drivers such a concern?
Many drivers in Virginia only carry the amount of insurance that the law requires, not the amount of coverage they would need to fully cover the costs of a serious crash.
For years, the mandated bodily liability coverage in Virginia was just $25,000 when one person got hurt or $50,000 per crash. Although people could carry more coverage, not everyone is that responsible. Frequently, even moderate injuries would create losses far beyond what insurance will pay.
Virginia lawmakers have recently stepped up to close that gap and provide better protection for drivers, passengers and pedestrians in Virginia.
State lawmakers recently increased insurance requirements
There will be another increase to the policy limits of all Virginia drivers soon. As of January 1, 2022, the mandatory minimum bodily injury liability coverage will go up to $30,000 for a crash with one person hurt or $60,000 overall per crash.
As of January 1, 2025, drivers will need to have $50,000 and $100,000 as their minimum policy limits to comply with state law. Obviously, access to better coverage will make a major difference for those with hospital bills and lost wages following a car crash.
What happens to those affected by an insurance shortfall?
Unfortunately, these changes only come after years of people not getting the compensation they need following car crashes. Those hurt before policy requirements increased may have few options outside of going to civil court to recoup their losses. Those who can show that negligence or illegal activity caused their crash can potentially pursue a personal injury claim against the other driver.
Understanding how the law protects you following a motor vehicle collision can help you get the compensation you require for the consequences you suffer.