As discussed before, when you purchased Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) coverage through your own car insurance, you bought coverage to protect you if it turns out the defendant is either un-insured or under-insured. I want to be clear, though, that your UIM coverage may not come into play. It all depends on how much insurance the defendant has relative to your UIM coverage limits.

To understand this, it's important that we first take a step back and understand a little more about Virginia car insurance rules. In Virginia, the minimum amount of car insurance you can by is $25,000. Therefore, if you were involved in a car accident, and the defendant has insurance, it's quite possible that he or she may have as little as $25,000 in coverage. For relatively minor accidents, that amount of coverage may be more than enough to compensate you for your injuries. 

But for the more serious car accidents involving devastating injuries, $25,000 is often times not nearly enough to cover the claim. This makes sense when you think about how much health care costs. One overnight stay in the hospital can cost thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars. 

Given that, one way we can feel more comfortable that there's sufficient car insurance to cover your serious car accident claim is to determine how much UIM coverage you have. To do this, it's pretty simple - pull out the "declarations page" of your insurance policy, and it should list your coverage limits. The typical limits sold by insurance follow these amounts: $25,000 - $50,000 - $100,00 - $300,000 - $500,000 - $1,000,000. The higher your UIM limits, the better.  

One question that you likely have now is, "how do I found out how much coverage the defendant has?" This information is not generally something the defendant (or his or her insurance company) will volunteer. Therefore, the way you will ultimately find that out is either you sue the defendant and learn it through the case or you can produce $12,500 in medical bills incurred due to your accident injuries. You can then compel the defendant's car insurance limits. 

If you are reaching out to us soon after your accident, it's likely that you're not yet in a position to compel the defendant to produce their limits. That's another reason why checking out your UIM policy limits early on is helpful. If you purchased a lot of coverage, it's less important how much insurance the defendat has because you can be confident there will be enough insurance to cover your claim.

For more information on UIM coverage, check out our article here.

Brian Glass
Virginia personal injury lawyer selected to SuperLawyers Rising Stars List and the NTLA's Top 40 Under 40.