Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage In Virginia?
Virginia is one of a handful of states that do not require motorists to have insurance. To drive in Virginia, you can either prove that you have car insurance liability coverage, or you can pay $500 at the DMV which essentially takes the place of insurance coverage without providing any of the benefits. Only a handful of states operate like this. Driving while uninsured is a bad idea. The $500 fee absolves the motorist of purchasing coverage, but the motorist can still be sued against his assets. In this article, we’ll discuss Virginia’s approach to liability coverage and how a diligent motorist can handle the choices.
What happens if I don’t have auto insurance?
If you don’t carry liability insurance and you cause an accident in which another driver is injured, that driver can file a lawsuit against you. This is the same as if you did have liability coverage, but your insurance company would not represent you in court and they wouldn’t pay your damages to the plaintiff. The plaintiff would be able to extract those damages from your assets, if they win their lawsuit against you. That means that they can come after your house, your car, and even your wages.
Debtor laws, a brief introduction
If a plaintiff gains a judgment against a defendant, they become the equivalent of a creditor. Their attorney would need to file a separate lawsuit to recover the judgment. They would probably win that suit, and they would be able to garnish your wages, levy your bank account, or place a lien on your home. However, if the defendant has no assets, no home, and their wages are not significant, then it will be hard to find a personal injury attorney to take the case. The defendant is considered judgment-proof. A lawyer could drive them into bankruptcy where they would discharge the personal injury award leaving the lawyer, the plaintiff, and everyone else without compensation.
Can I protect myself from that?
Yes. Auto insurance companies offer all drivers uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. These coverages pay out in the event that you sustain damage to your vehicle or become seriously injured by an uninsured driver. Similarly, underinsured policies pay out in the event that the other driver’s liability coverage is not enough to pay your medical expenses. This coverage also pays out if the at-fault driver flees the scene of an accident.
If the driver cannot be found or, having been found, has no insurance coverage, the injured party may file a claim on their own uninsured auto policy. Since Virginia does not require drivers to carry auto insurance, these policies are absolutely essential to avoiding severe financial hardship due to no fault of your own.
Talk to a Roanoke, VA Traffic Accident Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, the Roanoke car accident attorneys at MichieHamlett can help you file your claim and recover a fair settlement from the insurance company. Even when it’s your own policy, the insurance company has its own best interests at heart—not yours. Call today to learn more.