06 Jan Virginia: Personal Injury Insurance – a Lawyer’s Client
Most Virginians have some form of private health insurance or at least qualify for public health coverage in the form of Champus, Medicare and/or Medicaid. But under Virginia law, victims of wrongful death, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and other personal injury still are entitled – and need – to be compensated for their medical expenses by the wrongdoer.
Many, if not most, jurors are unaware that victims awarded compensation at trial are liable to reimburse medical expense benefits they have received. Specifically, the government and most private insurers by law have a lien against any jury awards to be repaid in full in preference and priority to all victims of wrongful death, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and other personal injury.
That lien exists regardless whether the jury actually factored anything into its award for the victim’s medical expenses. Hence victims of wrongful death, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and other personal injury stand to be under-compensated if a jury fails to award anything for medical expenses on the assumption that there is healthcare coverage or otherwise.