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Insurance Coverage

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Insurance Coverage

Brien Roche

You would think that the topic of auto insurance is a simple one.  Years ago some insurers began writing auto policies in what they call plain English.  Plain English to an insurer is not plain English to the rest of us. As simple as insurers may have tried to make the language, the fact is they are complex contracts.  They become more complex where you have coverage being given in one part of the policy only to be excluded or exempted in some other part.

If you’ve been involved in an crash you should contact an experienced auto accident attorney who will represent your interests – not the insurance company’s.

Basic forms of auto coverage are liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist and medical payments.

Auto Insurance Coverage for Liability

Liability coverage protects you in the event that someone else alleges that you were at fault for a crash.  By you, I mean either you as the insured or anyone who is driving your auto with your consent. Under state law anyone who is a “permissive user” is covered. Liability coverage is the only form of coverage in Virginia that comes close to being required. You can choose to pay an uninsured motorist fee in which event you may go without liability coverage.  The minimum coverage allowed in Virginia for liability is $25,000.00.

That $25,000.00 means that the insurer will pay up to $25,000.00 in the event that you were found to be at fault for the crash.  The insurer will also provide a lawyer to defend you.  The attorney is one that they choose.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Auto Insurance Coverage for Uninsured Motorist

Virginia allows people to drive uninsured as long as they pay the uninsured motorist fee to the state.  As a result, there are a number of people who are either uninsured or under-insured. If the damages exceed  the limits of the at fault driver then the injured person’s only recourse is to make a claim against their own under-insured motorist (UM)carrier.  UM coverage kicks in to the extent that it exceeds the liability coverage of the at fault driver.

For instance, if the at fault driver has a $25,000 policy but the injured party has UM coverage of $300,000 then the total amount that could be paid out is $300,000. The $25,000 from the at fault driver and $275,000 from the UM coverage.

Pedestrians

This latter form of coverage applies even if you are not in an insured auto. For instance if you are on foot and injured by a auto your UM coverage could apply.

Issues of coverage under UM policies can be rather complex.

UM coverage is something you should have to protect yourself from other drivers who may not have enough coverage. If you make a claim against your UM then this should not affect your rates since the collision was not your fault.

Subrogation

UM claims can involve issues of subrogation.  This is a concept that allows an insurer that has paid out money on behalf of its insured to recover that money from the party at fault.  This issue must be addressed in a UM claim before any settlement is reached.  That is, whether the UM carrier is able to recover any monies from that at-fault driver.

The insurer in pursuing a subrogation matter seeks to obtain a judgment against that at fault driver. They do this even though the at fault driver may not have anything.

In Virginia such a judgment is valid for at least 20 years.  If that person acquires real estate, then before they can sell that real estate, they will need to satisfy the judgment.

See uninsured motorist coverage for a review of Virginia case law on this subject. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Auto Insurance-Collision Coverage

Collision coverage applies where your vehicle has been damaged.  Fault of the driver is not an issue. If you have that coverage your insurance carrier will repair your auto.  If the repair cost is more than 70% of the value then the insurer will “total” the car.  They are only obliged to pay you the fair market value.  Fair market value may be determined by looking at such sites as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com.  The insurers use their own book upon which they base fair market value. This can sometimes create grief. Suppose you have a lien against your car for $10,000.00. The vehicle is only worth $8,000.00.  The insurer is only obliged to pay you that fair market value. That leaves you $2,000.00 short. Gap insurance would pay this “gap”.

Auto Insurance-Comprehensive

Comprehensive coverage is like collision in that it covers such things as fire, theft and glass breakage.  These types of coverage apply without regard to who may be at fault.

Auto Insurance-Medical Payments

Personal injury protection insurance coverage is also known as medical payments coverage.  This coverage is what is referred to as a first party coverage. That means that the insurer that issued the policy insures all persons (first party)in the auto at the time of crash.  It is no-fault coverage.  In other words fault is not an issue. If you are in the car you are covered.

This coverage may stack. Hence if there is more than one auto on the policy then the coverage for each is added to the coverage for the others. This increases the pool of money.

This is a good thing to have.  It protects not only the driver/owner but also those in the auto. It provides a means of paying for treatment up to what the limits are.

See medical payments for a review of Virginia case law on this topic.

Even though your bills may have been submitted to your health carrier and even though you are claiming your bills in your liability claim against the at-fault driver you can still submit to your med pay carrier.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Auto Insurance-Subrogation

One thing you need to be aware of in any auto case is that if bills are paid by the health insurer then they have a right of subrogation.  This right means that the insurer has a right to recoup every dollar they paid out. Some contracts allow a deduct for legal fees that you incur.  In most cases that is 1/3. However that is policy specific.  That right applies only to employer issued ERISA health policies.  Otherwise subrogation is barred in Virginia for health policies.

Homeowner’s Coverage

Homeowner’s policies in the Fairfax, Virginia area, as is true in most areas, cover most personal injury claims. They do not apply to auto claims.

A homeowner’s policy is designed to protect the homeowner and the persons that live in that home.  The most common claim is one where a person who does not live there is injured on the premises. The person alleges fault on the homeowner.

However this coverage may extend to things occurring outside the property.  For instance, if the homeowner is involved in some non-business action outside of the home that results in injury to another person then that claim may be covered.

These policies are like most insurance contracts and they cover what is called occurrences. In other words an accident that is not intended by the insured.
For more information about liability claims review our Premises Liability section.

Excess Exposure

Excess exposure in liability claims needs to be dealt with promptly.  If you are sued as a result of an auto crash or other type of claim you should promptly submit this to your insurer.
If that coverage that you have is less than the claim then you may want to consult with counsel about what can be done to protect your assets.

Asset Protection

Certain basic estate planning matters that should be looked at are to make sure that  your family home is titled in both your name and that of your spouse.  Such titling is called tenants by the entirety.  That titling protects that asset from any judgment that might be against only one of you.  If a judgment is against both of you for the same claim, then that may attach to the family home.

Cars that are driven by family members should be titled in the name of one adult.  If there is one adult in the family who is not the primary bread winner, then it  makes sense to title the car in the name of that person.  The logic being that if a car is titled in the name of both spouses then a judgment may be rendered against both.  Likewise, having the car titled only in the name of the spouse who is not the primary bread winner avoids the chance of the wages of the bread winning spouse being garnished if there is an excess judgment.

Of course, it always make sense to maintain enough coverage.  The cost of maintaining a million dollar liability policy is not that much more than a $100,000 policy.

It is not proper to attempt to hide or move your assets for the purpose of avoiding someone making a claim against you. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Limitations and Reporting Requirements

When you are involved in an event where a claim may be made against you certain reporting requirements may apply.

Statute of limitations are defined by state code and govern the amount of time you have after an injury to actually file and/or serve a lawsuit.

In addition to that there may be reporting requirements that apply based upon your insurance. Policies call for the insured to give seasonable notice to the insurer. This is to allow the insurer time to look at the matter while it is fresh. If  you deprive the insurer of that chance that may be a basis to deny coverage.

Brien Roche represents clients in all types of vehicle injury matters or accidents involving pedestrians. Mr. Roche has secured compensation for damages to clients involved in pedestrian accidents and accidents involving trucks, cars and other vehicles. With over 40 years of trial experience, Brien Roche has garnered significant compensation for his clients. For a free consultation with an accident lawyer, complete the contact form on this page, or contact our office directly.

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Insurance Coverage

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Insurance Coverage

Brien Roche

You would think that the topic of auto insurance is a simple one.  Years ago some insurers began writing auto policies in what they call plain English.  Plain English to an insurer is not plain English to the rest of us. As simple as insurers may have tried to make the language, the fact is they are complex contracts.  They become more complex where you have coverage being given in one part of the policy only to be excluded or exempted in some other part.

If you’ve been involved in an crash you should contact an experienced auto accident attorney who will represent your interests – not the insurance company’s.

Basic forms of auto coverage are liability, comprehensive, collision, uninsured motorist and medical payments.

Auto Insurance Coverage for Liability

Liability coverage protects you in the event that someone else alleges that you were at fault for a crash.  By you, I mean either you as the insured or anyone who is driving your auto with your consent. Under state law anyone who is a “permissive user” is covered. Liability coverage is the only form of coverage in Virginia that comes close to being required. You can choose to pay an uninsured motorist fee in which event you may go without liability coverage.  The minimum coverage allowed in Virginia for liability is $25,000.00.

That $25,000.00 means that the insurer will pay up to $25,000.00 in the event that you were found to be at fault for the crash.  The insurer will also provide a lawyer to defend you.  The attorney is one that they choose.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Auto Insurance Coverage for Uninsured Motorist

Virginia allows people to drive uninsured as long as they pay the uninsured motorist fee to the state.  As a result, there are a number of people who are either uninsured or under-insured. If the damages exceed  the limits of the at fault driver then the injured person’s only recourse is to make a claim against their own under-insured motorist (UM)carrier.  UM coverage kicks in to the extent that it exceeds the liability coverage of the at fault driver.

For instance, if the at fault driver has a $25,000 policy but the injured party has UM coverage of $300,000 then the total amount that could be paid out is $300,000. The $25,000 from the at fault driver and $275,000 from the UM coverage.

Pedestrians

This latter form of coverage applies even if you are not in an insured auto. For instance if you are on foot and injured by a auto your UM coverage could apply.

Issues of coverage under UM policies can be rather complex.

UM coverage is something you should have to protect yourself from other drivers who may not have enough coverage. If you make a claim against your UM then this should not affect your rates since the collision was not your fault.

Subrogation

UM claims can involve issues of subrogation.  This is a concept that allows an insurer that has paid out money on behalf of its insured to recover that money from the party at fault.  This issue must be addressed in a UM claim before any settlement is reached.  That is, whether the UM carrier is able to recover any monies from that at-fault driver.

The insurer in pursuing a subrogation matter seeks to obtain a judgment against that at fault driver. They do this even though the at fault driver may not have anything.

In Virginia such a judgment is valid for at least 20 years.  If that person acquires real estate, then before they can sell that real estate, they will need to satisfy the judgment.

See uninsured motorist coverage for a review of Virginia case law on this subject. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Auto Insurance-Collision Coverage

Collision coverage applies where your vehicle has been damaged.  Fault of the driver is not an issue. If you have that coverage your insurance carrier will repair your auto.  If the repair cost is more than 70% of the value then the insurer will “total” the car.  They are only obliged to pay you the fair market value.  Fair market value may be determined by looking at such sites as Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com.  The insurers use their own book upon which they base fair market value. This can sometimes create grief. Suppose you have a lien against your car for $10,000.00. The vehicle is only worth $8,000.00.  The insurer is only obliged to pay you that fair market value. That leaves you $2,000.00 short. Gap insurance would pay this “gap”.

Auto Insurance-Comprehensive

Comprehensive coverage is like collision in that it covers such things as fire, theft and glass breakage.  These types of coverage apply without regard to who may be at fault.

Auto Insurance-Medical Payments

Personal injury protection insurance coverage is also known as medical payments coverage.  This coverage is what is referred to as a first party coverage. That means that the insurer that issued the policy insures all persons (first party)in the auto at the time of crash.  It is no-fault coverage.  In other words fault is not an issue. If you are in the car you are covered.

This coverage may stack. Hence if there is more than one auto on the policy then the coverage for each is added to the coverage for the others. This increases the pool of money.

This is a good thing to have.  It protects not only the driver/owner but also those in the auto. It provides a means of paying for treatment up to what the limits are.

See medical payments for a review of Virginia case law on this topic.

Even though your bills may have been submitted to your health carrier and even though you are claiming your bills in your liability claim against the at-fault driver you can still submit to your med pay carrier.

Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Auto Insurance-Subrogation

One thing you need to be aware of in any auto case is that if bills are paid by the health insurer then they have a right of subrogation.  This right means that the insurer has a right to recoup every dollar they paid out. Some contracts allow a deduct for legal fees that you incur.  In most cases that is 1/3. However that is policy specific.  That right applies only to employer issued ERISA health policies.  Otherwise subrogation is barred in Virginia for health policies.

Homeowner’s Coverage

Homeowner’s policies in the Fairfax, Virginia area, as is true in most areas, cover most personal injury claims. They do not apply to auto claims.

A homeowner’s policy is designed to protect the homeowner and the persons that live in that home.  The most common claim is one where a person who does not live there is injured on the premises. The person alleges fault on the homeowner.

However this coverage may extend to things occurring outside the property.  For instance, if the homeowner is involved in some non-business action outside of the home that results in injury to another person then that claim may be covered.

These policies are like most insurance contracts and they cover what is called occurrences. In other words an accident that is not intended by the insured.
For more information about liability claims review our Premises Liability section.

Excess Exposure

Excess exposure in liability claims needs to be dealt with promptly.  If you are sued as a result of an auto crash or other type of claim you should promptly submit this to your insurer.
If that coverage that you have is less than the claim then you may want to consult with counsel about what can be done to protect your assets.

Asset Protection

Certain basic estate planning matters that should be looked at are to make sure that  your family home is titled in both your name and that of your spouse.  Such titling is called tenants by the entirety.  That titling protects that asset from any judgment that might be against only one of you.  If a judgment is against both of you for the same claim, then that may attach to the family home.

Cars that are driven by family members should be titled in the name of one adult.  If there is one adult in the family who is not the primary bread winner, then it  makes sense to title the car in the name of that person.  The logic being that if a car is titled in the name of both spouses then a judgment may be rendered against both.  Likewise, having the car titled only in the name of the spouse who is not the primary bread winner avoids the chance of the wages of the bread winning spouse being garnished if there is an excess judgment.

Of course, it always make sense to maintain enough coverage.  The cost of maintaining a million dollar liability policy is not that much more than a $100,000 policy.

It is not proper to attempt to hide or move your assets for the purpose of avoiding someone making a claim against you. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Limitations and Reporting Requirements

When you are involved in an event where a claim may be made against you certain reporting requirements may apply.

Statute of limitations are defined by state code and govern the amount of time you have after an injury to actually file and/or serve a lawsuit.

In addition to that there may be reporting requirements that apply based upon your insurance. Policies call for the insured to give seasonable notice to the insurer. This is to allow the insurer time to look at the matter while it is fresh. If  you deprive the insurer of that chance that may be a basis to deny coverage.

Brien Roche represents clients in all types of vehicle injury matters or accidents involving pedestrians. Mr. Roche has secured compensation for damages to clients involved in pedestrian accidents and accidents involving trucks, cars and other vehicles. With over 40 years of trial experience, Brien Roche has garnered significant compensation for his clients. For a free consultation with an accident lawyer, complete the contact form on this page, or contact our office directly.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation