New Insurance Requirements
January 1, 2022 – One of Virginia’s top personal injury lawyers, Brother Rutter spoke today on the background for legislative changes and their impact on drivers throughout the Commonwealth. Effective January 1, 2022, the state of Virginia will be requiring all drivers to maintain new minimums for their auto insurance liability coverage. The change comes from Senate Bill 1182 which raises auto insurance coverage requirements over a three-year period for all newly issued or renewed policies. Beginning in 2022, Virginia drivers must carry liability insurance with a minimum of $30,000 in personal injury coverage. That increase of $5000 remains in effect through 2024. The Bill then requires the second phase of the increase to be met by January 1, 2025, when coverage requirements jump to $50,000.
Changes in Virginia’s Courts
Changes to the state’s jurisdictional limits for General District Court last summer raised the maximum amount that can be awarded in cases from $25,000 to $50,000. Rising costs for medical care and inflation have been pushing the average injury claim above the limits of Virginia’s lower courts. Previously, plaintiffs seeking damages in excess of $25,000 were relegated to filing their claims in Circuit Courts, where their cases would be heard by a jury trial. With increasing costs for healthcare, the large number of cases exceeding the $25,000 threshold of the lower courts was causing long delays at the Circuit Court level in settling cases for people injured in an auto accident. Cases heard in the General District Court will more likely be resolved in a matter of months, rather than being held up for over a year, waiting for a spot on the docket to get a jury trial.
What Do These Changes Mean For You?
The state’s legislature further recognized the expenses involved in jury trials were causing undue burdens for both parties in an injury case. The lower courts, having different rules for evidence and testimony, allow for both expedited handling and reduced costs involved in trying the case. Records can be submitted via affidavits in the GDC, rather than having to retain expert witnesses to testify in person, as would be the case in a jury trial at the Circuit Court level. Fewer expenses in both trial preparation by attorneys and for the experts’ time to testify can mean thousands of dollars saved.
What Do The Attorneys Think?
“Being able to file these cases in GDC (General District Court) means less time to trial, fewer expenses, and quicker resolutions. That puts potentially thousands of dollars in the hands of the people who need them most – accident victims. This is a win for the people of Virginia.” – Brother Rutter, Managing Partner at Rutter Mills Law Firm
To see the full video interview with Brother Rutter click here. In this clip he explains what the changes are and why they are good for Virginia drivers.
Why Are My Car Insurance Requirements Going Up?
The move to increase minimum liability coverage for Virginia drivers will match the new maximum awards for cases heard in the General District Courts by January of 2025. Leaders in Richmond recognized cases for people injured in car accidents were unnecessarily being held up for years in the higher courts. The liability requirements had not seen an increase in years. Rising costs for care in recent years were leaving many injured Virginians without a means to recover from the financial burden inflicted after a car accident. The state believes raising the coverage requirements will mean larger, faster awards for the people who need them.
What Should I Do If I’m A Virginia Driver?
If you live in Virginia, you may want to consult with a licensed and experienced insurance agent to ensure your policy will renew with the correct minimum coverages. You can also visit the website for Virginia DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) to see their press release regarding this change.
If you have been involved in an accident, contact the legal team at Rutter Mills. When your future is at stake, you need professionals to ensure the compensation you receive is what you truly deserve. Call or text us today at 757-622-5000 to speak with a member of our team about your case.