2022 Virginia New Laws Update

Beginning July 1, 2022, the following new laws will go into effect in Virginia:

Compensation for Wrongful Incarceration

This new law modifies the formula for compensating wrongfully incarcerated persons to equal $55,000 per year of incarceration, adjusted for inflation, and changes the amount of compensation that may be paid out as a lump sum to equal 25 percent of the total award with the remainder to be paid out as an annuity with a term of 10 years.

Front and rear bumper height limits

This law provides that no passenger car or pickup or panel truck shall be operated on a public highway if the suspension, frame, or chassis has been modified by any means that causes the height of the front bumper to be four or more inches greater than the height of the rear bumper.

Selling or possessing switchblade

This new law eliminates the prohibition on selling, bartering, giving, furnishing, or possessing with the intent of selling, bartering, giving, or furnishing a switchblade.

Underinsured Motor Vehicle Coverage

This law requires any motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued, delivered, or renewed in Virginia after July 1, 2023, to include a statement providing underinsured motorist coverage that pays any damages to an insured in addition to bodily injury or property damage.

 Insurance Coverage for Exempted Vehicles

This new law requires motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers that were previously exempted from the registration requirement to be covered by motor vehicle insurance or an umbrella or excess insurance policy. The bill requires the owner of any such motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer to provide proof of insurance within 30 days when requested by a law-enforcement officer and provides that failure to do so is punishable as a traffic infraction by a fine of $600 to be paid into the Uninsured Motorists Fund.

Catalytic Converters Penalties

This new law makes it a Class 6 felony for a person to willfully break, injure, tamper with, or remove any part or parts of any vehicle, aircraft, boat, or vessel to remove a catalytic converter or the parts thereof.

Operation of Heavy Trucks in Certain Weather Conditions

Prohibits operators of heavy trucks, as defined in the bill, from using cruise control or compression release engine brakes when driving in active snow, sleet, or freezing rain.

Duty of in-network providers to submit claims to health insurers; Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

This law provides that an in-network provider that provides health care services to a covered patient must submit its claim to the health insurer.

Workers’ Compensation Cost of Living Supplements

This new law provides that cost-of-living supplements shall be payable to claimants who are receiving disability benefits under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act but are not receiving federal disability benefits.

Cannabis Oil

This law amends the definition of “cannabis oil” by removing the requirement that only oil from industrial hemp be used in the formulation of cannabis oil.

Modified Definition of Marijuana

This law modifies the definition of “marijuana” in several Code sections to (i) include any substance containing a total tetrahydrocannabinol concentration that exceeds 0.3 percent or more than 0.25 milligram of tetrahydrocannabinol per serving or more than one milligram per package and (ii) exclude industrial hemp that is possessed by a person who holds a hemp producer license issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Workers’ Compensation Cancer Claim Filing Deadline

This new law provides that the time period for filing a workers’ compensation claim for certain cancers is two years after a diagnosis of the disease is first communicated to the employee or within 10 years from the date of the last injurious exposure in employment, whichever first occurs. The bill provides, however, that such claim for benefits shall be barred if an employee is 65 years of age or older, regardless of the date of diagnosis, communication, or last injurious exposure in employment.

Workers’ Compensation Permanent and Total Incapacity

This new workers’ compensation law requires compensation for permanent and total incapacity to be awarded for the loss of both hands, both arms, both feet, both legs, both eyes, or any two thereof either from the same accident or a compensable consequence of an injury sustained in the original accident.

Hospital Financial Assistance and Payment Plans

This new bill requires hospitals to determine whether each patient is eligible for medical assistance or for financial assistance under the hospital’s financial assistance policy. Hospitals are required to inform every uninsured patient that they have the option to enter into a payment plan with the hospital. The new law also prohibits hospitals from engaging in extraordinary collections practices unless the hospital has made all reasonable efforts to determine whether the patient qualifies for assistance.

Hunting on Sundays

Permits hunting on Sunday on public or private land, so long as it takes place more than 200 yards from a place of worship.

Hunting with Dogs

Requires that any dog engaged in lawful hunting wear a substantial collar with a tag attached that identifies the name of the owner or custodian of the dog and a current phone number.

Workers’ Compensation and Health Care Providers With COVID

This new law extends the date by which COVID-19 causing the death or disability of a health care provider is presumed to be an occupational disease compensable under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.  This date is extended to December 31, 2022.

Health insurance Coverage for Prosthetics

This law requires health insurers, corporations providing health care coverage subscription contracts, health maintenance organizations, and the Commonwealth’s Medicaid program to provide coverage for medically necessary prosthetic devices.

Workers’ Compensation Scooters

This law adds scooters to the list of medical equipment an employer is required to furnish to an employee under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act.

Misuse of Power of Attorney

Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for an agent under a power of attorney to knowingly or intentionally engage in financial exploitation of an incapacitated adult who is the principal of that agent.

 

 

July 1, 2021

 

Alcohol Sales

The Virginia General Assembly will allow sales of to-go cocktails and sales of alcohol for consumption off premises for an extended period of time.

Balloon Releases

The new law banning balloon releases goes into effect July 1, 2021 and will carry a possible $25 fine.

Marijuana

Adults 21 and over will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use cannabis in private on July 1.

Littering

The minimum fine for littering in Virginia will double on July 1, going from $250 to $500.

Death Penalty

The Virginia General Assembly approved legislation earlier this year to end capital punishment.  This officially goes into effect July 1.

Education

Beginning July 1, 2021, all local public school districts must offer in-person instruction

Games Ban

Beginning July 1st, all slot machine type games found in convenience stores and sometimes referred to as “skill games” will not be permitted.

 Firearms

Anyone convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member, can’t purchase, possess, or transport a firearm.

Also, a new law makes it illegal to carry a firearm or explosive within the Capitol of Virginia, Capitol Square, and the surrounding are.  Additionally, no one is permitted to have a firearm within 40 feet of any building being used as a polling place.

 

January 2021

Below is a detailed listing of the January 2021 Virginia New Laws Update.  Of particular interest are the following new laws:

Holding A Cell Phone While Driving

As a result of an increase in crashes involving inattentive drivers, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law prohibiting driving while holding a cell phone.  Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety found Virginia to be one of 11 states considered to be “dangerously behind” in driving and safety laws. Because texting while driving involves all three types of distraction — manual, visual, and cognitive, it is the most egregious type of distracted driving.

On January 1, 2021 police in Virginia began enforcing the new Virginia law that prohibits drivers from holding a cell phone while driving.  While a driver may still talk on your phone while driving, he or she may not hold the phone.

Concealed Handgun Training

A new Virginia state law, which took effect on January 1, 2021, requires anyone who applies for a concealed carry permit to take an in-person firearms training course.  This is a change from the previous law which allowed the training requirement to be fulfilled by a virtual course.

Cost of Insulin Limits

Also among the new laws, is a prohibition against health insurance and other insurance carriers to charge more than $50 per 30-day supply of insulin.  This law covers the prescription insulin drug.

Balance Medical Billing

A new law preventing families and individuals from receiving unexpected medical bills also went into effect on January 1, 2021.  This new law impacts patients with health insurance from being billed for out-of-network emergency services.  This has occurred when patients receive health care from a hospital or doctor that is not in the insurance company’s network.  The new law states that “the health carrier shall treat any cost-sharing requirement in the same manner as the cost-sharing requirement for health care services provided by an in-network provider and shall apply any cost-sharing amount paid by the enrollee for such services toward the in-network maximum out-of-pocket payment obligation.”  So, this law is intended to prevent balance billing for amounts not covered by the insurance plan.

Improperly Classifying Independent Contractors

Virginia is becoming more strict on who can be classified as an independent contract.  Effective January 1, 2021, the new law prohibits an employer from classifying an individual as an independent contractor if he is an employee, unless the employer can demonstrate that the worker is actually a contractor.

Laws Effective Later

March 1, 2021 — Beginning March 1, 2021, searches and seizures based solely on the odor of marijuana will not be allowed under Virginia law.  This new law comes shortly after Virginia’s marijuana decriminalization law, that went into effect on July 1, 2020 and made the punishment for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana a civil matter, punishable by a $25 fine.

May 1, 2021 — Beginning May 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Virginia will increase to $9.50 an hour.  Currently, the wage rate is at the federally-mandated rate of $7.25 per hour.  Additional increases are set to take effect as follows:

January 1, 2022     $11/hour

January 1, 2023     $12/hour

January 1, 2025     $13.50/hour

January 1, 2026     $15/hour

We hope our reporting of the 2021 new Virginia laws has been helpful.  Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.

If you or a loved one suffered significant injuries in a car accident in Virginia, Ritchie Law Firm is here to help.  The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.

 

 

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