BMHJ Blog: Legal Information, Resources, & News: Insurance Coverage

Tolling Provision of Virginia’s Nonsuit Statute Does Not Apply to a Contractual Period of Limitations Contained in Fire-Insurance Policy

Andrew R. Alder, Esquire
Stephen A. Horvath, Esquire
September 23rd, 2015
By: Andrew R. Alder, Esquire and Stephen A. Horvath, Esquire

One of the most important tools available to a plaintiff in Virginia is the right to take a nonsuit to dismiss a case without prejudice to refiling the lawsuit, even if the statute of limitations has run. The right to a nonsuit is almost absolute, so if a case is not going well, the plaintiff just takes a nonsuit and starts over again. Under the tolling provision of Virginia’s nonsuit statute, a plaintiff has the right to refile a cause of action within six months after taking a voluntary nonsuit, even if the statute of limitations for the cause of action has expired. See Va. Code 8.01-229(E)(3). The Virginia Supreme Court has now limited the right to a nonsuit, and held that for claims under a Fire Insurance Policy, the tolling provisions of the Virginia Code do not extend the time to refile a nonsuited claim. Allstate Property & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Ploutis

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New Virginia UIM Legislation Changes Landscape of Litigation and Settlement Upon Tender of Policy Limits by Liability Insurance Carrier

Martin Schubert, Esquire
June 14th, 2015
By: Martin Schubert, Esquire

In 2010 the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in an attempt to prevent the underinsured motorist (“UIM”) carrier from delaying litigation. The measure was designed to pass certain costs onto the UIM carrier once the primary liability insurance carrier made an irrevocable offer of the policy limits. Once a written offer of the policy limits was made, the UIM carrier had 60 days, after which it had to assume the costs of defense. The duty to defend remained on the tortfeasor’s liability carrier however. The measure was largely ineffective in application however.

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A thorough pretrial investigation is usually worth the expense.

Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire
July 28th, 2014
By: Nicholas J. Lawrence, Esquire

In this day and age insurance companies, businesses, and claims professionals are all understandably looking for every way possible to minimize legal expenses. However, limiting the pretrial investigation is often a false economy. Two recent cases in northern Virginia illustrate the importance of thorough investigation and case preparation, even in “routine” or minor personal injury cases in general district court. The following summary is of two recent cases involving rear-end collisions with no liability defenses, and no dispute as to the authenticity or reasonableness of the medical bills claimed. The only issue was whether the plaintiffs were truly injured.

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Sophistry and Insurance Policy Interpretation

Stephen A. Horvath, Esquire
March 14th, 2014
By: Stephen A. Horvath, Esquire

Sophistry is a flawed method of arguing. It is a type of argument that appears clever on its face, but it is actually flawed or dishonest. In ancient Greece, Sophists were philosophers or teachers, and early Sophists were well respected. Over time theses Sophists started to charge high fees for their teachings. Plato described Sophists as paid hunters of the young and wealthy, as athletes in a contest of words and purgers of souls. He described them as “the art of contradiction making, descended from an insincere kind of conceited mimicry,…a shadow play of words”.

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Va. Code Section 38.2-2206(L) – Irrevocable Offers

Steven W. Bancroft, Esquire
Matthew A. Roberson, Esquire
November 3rd, 2013
By: Steven W. Bancroft, Esquire and Matthew A. Roberson, Esquire

Irrevocable Offers: Does Va. Code Section 38.2-2206(L) have any teeth?

Liability automobile carriers can now shift the costs of litigation to underinsured carriers as a result of a recent statutory change. This change affects both settlement offers and the relationship between liability insurers and underinsured motorist insurers.

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Disclaimer

This blog and the information provided has been prepared by Bancroft, McGavin, Horvath & Judkins, P.C. (“BMHJ”) for information purposes only and is not intended nor to be construed as legal advice. This blog may contain the opinions of the members and associates of this firm on various legal issues and is not legal advice. Read More