Virginia Client Advisory: Governor Northam Expected to Sign New Legislation
March 30, 2021
Virginia’s 2021 special legislative session recently ended. The following bills have passed both the House and Senate, and are expected to be signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam on or before March 31, 2021. The effective date for each, with the exception of S.B. 1182, will be July 1, 2021.
S.B. 1182 increases required motor vehicle liability insurance coverages. For all policies issued on or after January 1, 2022, minimum liability coverages increase from $25,000 to $30,000 in cases of bodily injury to or death of one person, and from $50,000 to $60,000 in cases of bodily injury to or death of more than one person in any one accident. For all policies issued on or after January 1, 2025, minimum coverages increase to $50,000 in cases of bodily injury to or death of one person, $100,000 in cases of bodily injury to or death of more than one person in any one accident, and also increases the minimum coverage for damage to property of others as a result of any one accident from $20,000 to $25,000.
S.B. 1108 increases the maximum civil jurisdictional limit of general district courts to $50,000 from $25,000 for bodily injury matters.
S.B. 1241 provides that an insurance company must disclose motor vehicle insurance policy limits in connection with a personal injury lawsuit if its insured is charged with driving under the influence. Under current law, disclosure of policy limits is only required if the alleged tortfeasor is convicted of DUI.
H.B. 1918 requires any student who applies for a parking pass on public school property to provide evidence that he or she possesses a valid driver’s license or driver privilege card.
S.B. 1209 permits a general contractor, in defense of a claim for nonpayment of wages by a subcontractor’s employee, to offer a written certification from the subcontractor stating that (i) the subcontractor has paid all employees all wages due for the period during which the wages are claimed for the work performed on the project, and (ii) to the subcontractor’s knowledge, all sub-subcontractors have also paid their employees.
Two notable bills did not pass. S.B. 1195, if passed, would have provided that a motor vehicle is “underinsured” when the total amount of bodily injury and property damage coverage applicable to the operation or use of the motor vehicle and available for payment for such bodily injury or property damage, including all bonds or deposits of money or securities, is insufficient to fully compensate any person injured as a result of the operation or use of the vehicle. S.B. 1202, if passed, would have provided that if an insurance company denies, refuses, or fails to pay its insured, or refuses a reasonable settlement demand within coverage limits, for a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits within a reasonable time after being presented with a demand for such benefits and it is subsequently found that the denial, refusal, or failure was not in good faith, then the insurance company would be liable to the insured for the full amount of the judgment and reasonable attorney fees, expenses, and interest. These bills are likely to be reintroduced for consideration in the future.
Questions about these bills and other Virginia legislation can be directed to Nicholas Phillips at (571) 464-0436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.