It seems like everywhere you turn these days there is more bad news as a result of the country’s economic woes. One new disturbing trend is the increase in the number of uninsured motorists because drivers are dumping their car insurance as a way to save money. Because Virginia is a state that does not require motorists to carry auto insurance, some drivers either never take out a policy or allow theirs to lapse in order to pinch pennies. When times are tough, many drivers rationalize that they aren’t hurting anyone by forgoing car insurance – but they are wrong.
According to research by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), for every one percent increase in the unemployment rate, the rate of uninsured motorists increases by more than three-quarters of a percentage point. With the unemployment rate expected to rise in Virginia and across the nation by a few percentage points, the number of uninsured motorists will also rise. In 2007 around 9% of Virginia motorists were estimated to be without insurance so as time goes on and our economic troubles deepen that number should rise.
Unfortunately for drivers with insurance, if you are hit by an uninsured driver then you and your insurance company often end up paying the price. In Virginia, if you are injured by an uninsured motorist, your own insurance policy will be tapped to pay for your injuries and suffering (that is why you pay for Uninsured Motorist coverage every month). That’s right, you will effectively have to fight with your own insurer to get money for your injuries.
Another concern that wasn’t highlighted by the IRC study but is still an issue in Virginia is drivers who only carry the minimum insurance coverage required by law. Many people don’t think twice about this since they assume they are following the law and saving money, but Virginia state insurance minimums are not enough to fairly compensate an innocent victim seriously injured in a car or truck accident. This means that if you or someone you love is hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you could be out of luck when it comes to recovering damages.
If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, don’t despair – you can still fight for the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys are experienced with uninsured motorist claims and can use their experience fighting insurance companies to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Please contact the Northern Virginia law firm Dulaney, Lauer & Thomas to learn more.
DULANEY, LAUER & THOMAS, LLP
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11
Warrenton, VA 20186
Toll Free: 888.907.2631
209 N. West Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
Toll Free: 800.741.1012