Accident Victims Can Stack Underinsured Motorist Policies in Virginia

In a recent case, a state appellate court denied a plaintiff’s claim against an insurance company based on the fact that the state where the claim arose precluded accident victims from stacking their insurance policies. In that case, the insurance company had approved and paid out on a similar claim filed by the plaintiff a few years earlier. However, the court held that the insurance company’s previous error in paying out on the plaintiff’s claim did not mean that the insurance company was prevented from raising the anti-staking defense in the more recent case.

Had this case been brought in Virginia, the insurance company would not be able to raise the anti-stacking defense because Virginia allows accident victims to stack multiple insurance policies. Stacking allows for accident victims to combine the policy maximums from multiple policies, up to the point where they are able to recover fully for their injuries they sustained.

Without Insurance Policy Stacking

If an accident victim sustained $300,000 in a car accident in a state that does not allow stacking, and the at-fault motorist’s insurance policy has a policy maximum of $100,000, and the plaintiff’s own policy has a maximum of $150,000, the plaintiff will be able to recover the following:

  • $100,000 from the at-fault motorist’s policy, and
  • $50,000 from the accident victim’s policy

Note, an accident victim’s recovery under their own policy is reduced by the compensation that they received from the underinsured motorist’s policy. Thus, under this scenario, the plaintiff will have sustained $300,000 in damages but will only be able to recover $150,000 of that total due to the policy limits of the insurance policies.

With Insurance Policy Stacking

Now, assume that stacking is permitted and the plaintiff has his own policy and is covered by his parent’s insurance policy. If the accident victim’s parent’s insurance policy has a $250,000 maximum, the accident victim would be able to recover under all three policies, as follows:

  • $100,000 from the at-fault motorist’s policy, and
  • $50,000 from the accident victim’s policy, and
  • $150,000 from the accident victim’s parents’ policy.

Again, note that although the accident victim would be entitled to recover up to $250,000 under his parents’ policy, the accident victim only sustained $300,000 in damages and thus cannot recover in excess of this amount.

Have You Been Injured in a Virginia Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Virginia car accident, it is important that you reach out to a dedicated Virginia personal injury attorney to discuss your case. It may be that you are covered under multiple policies, which may mean that you are able to more fully recover or your injuries. Attorney Charles B. Roberts is a dedicated Virginia car accident attorney with decades of experience representing injury victims and their families in a wide range of Virginia injury claims. To learn more, call 703-491-7070 to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Roberts today. Calling is free, and you will not be billed for our services unless we are able to help you recover for your injuries.

See More Blog Posts:

Court Discusses Instructor’s Duty and Potential Liability in Recent Yoga Injury Case, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, September 13, 2018.

Court Discusses Whether Employer’s Insurance Company Was Liable for Damages Caused by Employee’s Drunk-Driving Accident, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, August 31, 2018.