covered a recent Virginia Supreme Court victory for a McGuireWoods client
who was awarded damages for serious injuries suffered in a 2013 auto
In a unanimous Aug. 15 ruling, the court held that a motorist who was
ordered to pay $1.5 million in damages could not have that amount offset by
the $750,000 the injured driver received from her insurance company under
an uninsured motorist policy. The ruling by the state’s highest court
affirmed a trial judge’s decision not to reduce the award to McGuireWoods’
client, who suffered hip, shoulder and knee injuries when another vehicle
struck her car.
Scott Oostdyk and associate
Matthew Fender tried the case to the jury. Senior counsel
Robert Loftin successfully argued the appeal.
The client's auto insurance policy included an uninsured motorist coverage
provision. After suing the driver who struck her car, the client and the
insurance company reached a $750,000 settlement to which the other motorist
was not a party. The driver who struck the client’s car sought to have the
$1.5 million award reduced by $750,000, arguing that the insurance company
was a nominal defendant and liable for the client’s injuries. The Virginia
Supreme Court disagreed, saying the insurer was liable only because of its
contract with the client.
"We are pleased the Supreme Court of Virginia permitted drivers to keep the
benefit of the [underinsured motorist] coverage they protectively
purchase,” Oostdyk told Law360 for its Aug. 15 story. “This is a
sound policy for a strong business state."