Virginia Personal Injury and Accident Law

Several new bills have been approved (or rejected) by the General Assembly and awaiting the Governor’s decision, some of which affect litigation and personal injury. Stay current with developments in the law by following PLDR Law.

Many people expect that all negligent actors can be held liable for damages. In Virginia, however, charities are immune for acts of ordinary negligence. This means that an injured party, even if a member or beneficiary of the charity, cannot sue a charity or its employees, provided due care had been exercised in selecting and retaining the employees.

Generally, creditors cannot reach proceeds from a personal injury or wrongful death settlement because such proceeds are exempt under Virginia Law. However, there are several important exceptions to this rule. One of these exceptions is for medical providers who provide treatment to the injured party. According to Code of Virginia Section 8.01-66.2, certain medical providers may claim limited amounts from a personal injury settlement when they provide services to a person who was injured by another. The statutory limit of the lien is $2,500 in the case of a hospital or nursing home, $750 for each physician, nurse, physical therapist, or pharmacy, and $200 for each emergency medical services provider or agency. If your medical bills are paid by your health insurance, the health insurance company may seek reimbursement from your settlement as well, but the right of reimbursement must be stated in the plan documents. Other liens, such as those asserted by Medicare and Medicaid, may also affect or reduce an injured party’s recovery.

Medical payments coverage is “no-fault” optional automobile insurance in Virginia. “No-fault” means that an injured person can receive proceeds from this coverage for personal injuries stemming from an auto accident regardless of who was at fault. “Medical payments” and “medical expense” is the same type of coverage, often used interchangeably. Attorneys and insurance adjusters simply refer to it as “MedPay.” Insurance companies will offer medical expense coverage typically in amounts of $1,000, $2,000, or $5,000. A car owner can purchase this optional coverage in addition to liability coverage (bodily injury and property damage).

Automobile insurance is generally understood by many as a means to protect assets from injured third parties, also known as liability coverage. What happens, though, when you are injured by an at-fault driver who has low insurance limits or no insurance? Your own policy will carry coverage known as uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM). This coverage can help guard against an adverse financial impact caused by an irresponsible driver.

A drunk driver who causes injury may escape jail time altogether, and any restitution may not even cover the injured party’s medical bills. However, if you are injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to recover more than just damages that compensate you for your injuries and damage to your property. Virginia recognizes a category of damages called “punitive damages” that operates to punish a wrongdoer over and above the amount of damage caused to the victim and to deter egregious conduct. Punitive damages are especially helpful in drunk driving cases when the criminal penalty imposed may seem insufficient.

You have been injured in an accident while the other driver seemingly walks away with a traffic ticket, perhaps for speeding or running a red light.  You pause and wonder about the fairness of this situation.  Although the other driver may be tempted to avoid the hassle of court and instead opt to prepay the associated fine, the law may be on your side. 

As the calendar rolled over to July 1, 2018, new laws have taken effect in the Commonwealth.  The following “short” list is not comprehensive, but includes those laws that may have interest among personal injury and civil litigation attorneys.

When you sue someone or are being sued, chances are high that you will find yourself in one of Virginia’s General District Courts (the “GDC”). The GDC oversees the adjudication of small civil claims, which is the focus of this post.  Other matters handled by the GDC include traffic violations, minor criminal cases known as misdemeanors and preliminary hearings for more serious criminal cases called felonies.

Recently I handled a case worthy of a law school exam on insurance.  An Amherst County man had been injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The injured party tried to handle the case himself and had done an admirable job, as he was able to secure the $25,000 policy limit from the liability carrier.

One the first questions most clients have when considering a personal injury claim is “What sort of damages can I recover?” The primary goal of damages is to compensate the injured party for his or her loss. In Virginia, if proven with reasonable certainty, a personal injury plaintiff may recover damages related to:

Office Hours

Mon - Fri 8:30 am - 5 pm
Sat Closed
Sun Closed

Contact Us

925 Main St., Suite 300 
Lynchburg, VA 24504 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
pldr law firm facebook icon