Virginia: Car Accident – a Lawyer’s Stacking

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In Salzman v. Kanchev, 80 Va. Cir. 139 (Chesapeake Feb. 4, 2010), Chesapeake Circuit Court addressed stacking of uninsured and underinsured liability insurance coverage. The declaratory judgment action involved a car crash on Military Highway in Chesapeake, Virginia.

“When a disputed policy term is unambiguous, a court applies its plain meaning as written.” Virginia Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Williams, 278 Va. 75, 81(2009). “However, if disputed policy language is ambiguous and can be understood to have more than one meaning, a court must construe the language in favor of coverage and against the insurer.” Id. (finding insurance policy ambiguous and coverage for a vehicle accident).

In Salzman, the Court opined the policy of Progressive Specialty Insurance Company was unambiguous. Hence the UIM coverage for the car wreck injuries was only $50,000.00.