Uninsured Underinsured Motorist Coverage - UM UIM

Richmond Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Accident Lawyers

Helping Virginia accident victims recover insurance proceeds when liable drivers fail to have insurance

All motor vehicle drivers in Virginia are required to have a minimum amount of insurance coverage in case of an accident. This insurance should pay for a victim’s medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage. Even though the law is mandatory, many drivers don’t purchase insurance. To protect themselves, Virginia vehicle owners can purchase uninsured/underinsured insurance (UM/UIM) insurance. If the driver who caused your injuries or the death of a loved one does not have liability coverage or has coverage but it is not enough to pay your claim, you can use your UM/UIM insurance to pay for your damages.

UM/UIM insurance claims can be complicated. At Phelan Petty, our Richmond-based car accident lawyers understand how liability insurance and UM/UIM insurance work. We are skilled at showing that another driver caused your injuries. Our lawyers are respected across Virginia for our ability to maximize your damage award based on your injuries. We’ll help you obtain the insurance proceeds for a car, truck, or motorcycle accident that you deserve.

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How much liability insurance are vehicles owner required to have?

The Virginia liability insurance coverage requirements are changing.

Vehicle owners in 2023 are required to buy the following liability insurance coverage:

  • Bodily injury insurance for one person in one accident: $30,000.
  • Bodily injury insurance for multiple people in one accident: $60,000.
  • Property damage insurance (normally, the insurance for the damage to your vehicle): $20,000.

The amounts are going to change in 2024. As of January 1, 2024, vehicle owners will be required to have the following liability insurance coverage:

  • Bodily injury insurance for one person in one accident: $50,000,
  • Bodily injury insurance for multiple people in one accident: $100,000.
  • Property damage insurance (normally, the insurance for the damage to your vehicle): $25,000.

These amounts are the minimum. However, we recommend that vehicle owners purchase as much liability insurance as they can reasonably afford. The premiums for higher amounts of coverage are normally not that much more than the required minimums.

How much UM/UIM insurance coverage should vehicle owners purchase?

Insurance companies are required to offer uninsured/underinsured coverage in the same amounts as they offer liability coverage. UM/UIM is not mandatory but it is recommended. Many drivers in Virginia do not have insurance or only buy the bare minimum. If you have a serious injury such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or burn injuries, the bare minimum will not be enough to compensate you for all your damages.


When can I use my own UM/UIM policy in Richmond?

If you are in an accident or a loved one died, your own insurance company has the right to prompt notice of the accident so they can conduct their own investigation. The notice also informs your carrier that a possible UM/UIM claim may be filed depending on the ability of the liable defendants to pay your damages.

Your right to file a UM/UIM claim applies:

  • If the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident and any other defendants are responsible for the accident that caused your injuries or the death of your relative. Responsibility is usually determined by either a settlement with the defendant’s(s’) insurance carriers or a court verdict. If a hit-and-run driver struck you, you should be able to directly file a UM/UIM claim based on the hit-and-run status of the driver.
  • Once the liability of the defendant(s) is determined or the driver’s hit-and-run status is determined, then you can file a UM/UIM claim:
    • If the defendants were uninsured
    • If the defendant(s)’ insurance coverage does not fully cover your personal injury claim.

Once the above conditions are met you can file your UM/UIM claim. Our Richmond UM/UIM lawyers will then demand that you be paid the balance of your damage claim, up to the UM/UIM policy limits.


Who can file a UM/UIM claim in Richmond?

Virginia law provides that liability insurance (and thus UM/UIM) coverage applies to the following vehicles and people:

  • The policies should specify which vehicles are covered.
  • The policies should specify the owner of the policy (the named insured) and “any other person using or responsible for the use of the motor vehicle or motor vehicles with the permission of the named insured.”

Generally, this means that the owner of the vehicle and anyone the owner grants permission to use the vehicle should be covered.

In addition, the members of the household of the owner (named insured) may also be covered.

The families of anyone who dies in a Richmond vehicle accident should be able to file a wrongful death claim with the UM/UIM carrier if the person who died was eligible to file a UM/UIM claim.

At Phelan Petty, our Richmond uninsured/underinsured lawyers will explain which drivers and passengers can seek UM/UIM benefits.

UM/UIM claims for pedestrians and cyclists

Under Virginia law, pedestrians and bicycle riders can also file UM/UIM claims against their own insurance carriers if they are hit and injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. If they are injured in a hit-and-run, they can file a “John Doe” claim against their own insurance company.

Do you have a UM/UIM lawyer near me?

At Phelan Petty, we meet vehicle accident victims at our law office, which is located at 3315 West Broad Street in Richmond. We’re near several state courthouses. We can also meet accident victims at their homes or a hospital if they are too ill or injured to come to our office, and conduct phone or video conferences by appointment.

Contact an experienced Richmond uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) accident lawyer today

When car, truck, and other types of vehicle accidents are due to the negligence of others, you deserve to be compensated for your financial and personal damages. At Phelan Petty, our Richmond-based UM/UIM accident lawyers understand how to file liability and UM/UIM insurance claims. We’ll protect your interests and fight to obtain the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers have helped numerous accident victims obtain strong verdicts and settlements. To speak with our seasoned personal injury lawyers, call us or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We represent personal injury victims across Virginia.