VIRGINIA CLIENT ADVISORY: 2023 Legislative Session Update
July 24, 2023
Below is a summary of laws passed during the 2023 Legislative Session, along with certain provisions of the Virginia Code enacted in prior legislative sessions, which will take effect this year.
2023 Va. Chapter 321 (HB 1495/SB 1216: “Transportation network companies; uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.”
- The above bills require transportation network companies, commonly referred to as ride-sharing companies, to maintain the same minimum uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for all motor vehicle insurance policies, meaning $30,000 for bodily injury per person and $60,000 for bodily injury per accident, plus $20,000 for property damage, regardless of whether a passenger is in a vehicle. The bills prohibit this coverage from being offset by another policy when the incident arises while a passenger is in the vehicle.
- Additionally, when a passenger is in a vehicle, the required uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is $1,000,000.
2023 Va. Chapter 394 (HB 1619/SB 1027): “Vehicle safety inspection; commercial vehicles, exemption.”
- These bills amend Va. Code § 46.2-1158.01 to exempt commercial vehicles which operate in interstate commerce from the vehicle safety inspection requirement if that vehicle complies with federal periodic inspection requirements. Of note, however, there are additional criteria which determine exemption which should be considered before relying solely on this law.
2023 Va. Chapter 27 (HB 1647): “Sexual abuse by a person of authority; civil cause of action, limitations period.”
- This bill modifies Va. Code § 8.01-243 to create a cause of action for injury to a person who is 18 years of age or older which results from sexual abuse by a person of authority, which is defined as a person in a position of trust having influence over the victim’s life.
- A claim must be brought within 15 years of when the cause of action accrues.
2023 Va. Chapter 364 (HB 1661/SB 1064): “Nonrepairable vehicles; titling requirements, sale to certain auto recyclers.”
- These identical bills modify several sections of the Virginia Code, namely §§ 46.2-1602.1, 46.2-1603.2, and 46.2-1608.2, and adds Va. Code § 46.2-1602.3.
- Generally, insurance companies that acquire through the claims process any vehicle whose estimated cost of repair exceeds 75% of its cash value may obtain a nonrepairable certificate for that vehicle without first obtaining a certificate of title or salvage certificate, provided certain conditions are met, including:
- The insurance company is unable to obtain the assigned title or salvage certificate from the insured;
- The insurance company has determined that the vehicle is nonrepairable;
- Any lien on the vehicle has been satisfied; and
- The vehicle is being sold to a demolisher, salvage dealer or scrap metal processor for the purpose of recycling parts, dismantling, demolishing or recycling for scrap.
2023 Va. Chapter 550 (HB 2184): “Judgment liens; release of specific property.”
- This bill creates a procedure by which a settlement agent may release a property from a judgment lien when the lien creditor has failed to respond to a request in writing to pay the amount owed.
2023 Va. Chapter 463 (HB 1757/SB 845): “Immunity of persons; tort actions, assertion of immunity, attorney fees and costs.”
- A person shall be immune from tort liability if the claim is based solely on statements: (1) made to a third party and regarding matters of public concern that would be protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; (2) made at a public hearing before the governing body of any locality or other political subdivision concerning matters properly before such body; or (3) made by an employee against his employer and where retaliatory action against an employee by such employer is otherwise prohibited by law.
- This bill also provides that any person who prevails in such a legal action may be awarded reasonable attorney fees and costs.
2023 Va. Chapter 538 (SB 951): “Uninsured motorist fee; removes option to register an uninsured motor vehicle upon payment of fee.”
- This bill repeals the option to register an uninsured motor vehicle upon payment of the uninsured motor vehicle fee of $500.
- This bill is effective July 1, 2024.
2022 Va. Chapter 308 (SB 754):“Motor Vehicle Insurance; Underinsured Motor Vehicle”
- This bill is from the 2022 Legislative Session. It modifies Va. Code Ann. § 38.2-2206, and took effect on July 1, 2023.
- Pursuant to this bill, underinsured motorist coverage shall be paid without any credit for the bodily injury and property damage coverage available for payment, unless any named insured elects to reduce underinsured motorist coverage payments by notifying the insurer. Essentially, underinsured motorist coverage will stack on top of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage.
- If an injured person is entitled to underinsured motorist coverage under one or more policies wherein a named insured has elected to reduce the underinsured motorist limits by the available bodily injury liability insurance or property damage liability insurance coverage available for payment, the coverages do not stack on top of each other and the insured’s underinsured motorist coverage will be the maximum total recovery available, as it is under Va. Code Ann. § 38.2-2206 before its modification.
Questions regarding this advisory can be directed to Mackenzie Payne at (571) 470-1906 ext. 8432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.