Burnett & Williams

House Bill 93 passes into Law in Virginia

House Bill 93 passes into Law in Virginia

Authored by Jim Williams.

We at Burnett & Williams were delighted to learn that House Bill 93 was passed into law. Passage of this bill is particularly gratifying for our law firm, because not only does it advance the interests of many of our clients, but it has also been the object of a spirited Burnett & Williams lobbying effort.

This bill addresses a situation frequently abused by insurance companies when the person responsible for an accident has less insurance than his victim.  Unfortunately, many people buy only the bare minimum of car insurance.  And those same people seem to cause a lot of accidents.

Other folks have heeded my law partner Peter Burnett’s advice (see his video dated August 24th, 2009) and have higher limits.  This is wise because if you get hit by someone with minimal insurance, then you can go after your own insurance company to be fully compensated for your injuries.  And the best part is that your premiums will not go up solely because you make an underinsured motorist claim.

House Bill 93 makes the car accident victim’s insurance company with the higher limits responsible for paying the expenses of defending the case.  All the wrong doer’s lower limit insurance company has to do is offer to settle for its policy limits and tell the higher limit insurance company that it has done so.  Prior to this law, the carrier with the lower limits had to pay to defend the case even when it was obvious that the case had much greater value than the lower limits.   Since the victim’s higher limit insurance company didn’t have to worry about the costs of defending the case, it would make cases go to trial, or at least be prepared for trial, that should have settled.  The lawyers at Burnett & Williams frequently see such situations and have long advocated for a change in the law.

Now, it has finally happened.  The victim’s insurance company in underinsured motorist cases can no longer abuse the process as it did before, thanks to House Bill 93. And we at Burnett & Williams are proud to say that our lobbying efforts helped to make it possible. House Bill 93 is scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2010.

The full text of this bill can be seen at this website