If you get in an accident with an uninsured driver, their lack of liability insurance coverage can dramatically alter your options for recovering compensation for the injuries you suffered and the losses you endured. While Georgia law requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of automobile liability insurance coverage, not all drivers follow the rules.
Breaking the law means a driver may face certain consequences if they are involved in a traffic accident. Those consequences do little to help the victims of the collision, though. Instead, accident victims will need to file a claim based on their uninsured motorist insurance coverage in many cases.
Auto Insurance Coverage Requirements in Georgia
Under O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11, drivers in Georgia must carry at least a minimum amount of auto liability insurance coverage. However, uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is an optional policy.
The required liability insurance policy should cover at least:
- $25,000 per accident for bodily injury or death of one person
- $50,000 per accident for total bodily injuries or death to multiple victims
- $25,000 per accident for property damage to vehicles of the victims
An uninsured motorist policy will cover these minimums—the amount of coverage you opted for in your policy. This policy comes in handy after an accident where you suffered injuries caused by an at-fault driver who did not carry the required liability insurance policy. It may also cover you if the driver left the accident scene and cannot be identified, such as in a hit and run accident.
Georgia Requires Opting Out of UM Coverage in Writing
Georgia law requires that insurance companies provide uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist coverage to policyholders when they purchase an insurance policy. This is sometimes called opt-out coverage because you must reject this add-on coverage in writing if you do not want it.
Therefore, unless you opted out in writing, you may have UM/UIM coverage and not realize it. This choice could become very important if the driver who caused your accident is uninsured and does not have assets to cover your injuries, bills, and losses.
To learn if you have UM coverage available, you can look over your insurance policy, let us analyze your policy, or speak with a member of the team from your insurance office. Knowing what to do if you get in an accident with an uninsured driver depends on knowing if this coverage is available in your case.
Understanding Uninsured Motorist Insurance Coverage
Uninsured motorist insurance policies can be complex. You may not want to try to navigate this claims process by yourself, even though:
- These policies provide important coverage following an accident with an uninsured driver.
- It may seem easier to file a claim with your insurer.
Your traffic accident attorney who handles uninsured driver accident cases can help you understand:
- When your UM/UIM policy is in effect
- The types of damages you can recover
- Who is covered
If necessary, they can also help you explore other options for recovering damages (if any exist).
When You Might File an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Claim
In general, you may need to file a UM/UIM claim when:
- An uninsured driver caused your accident
- You were the victim of a hit-and-run accident
- You suffered injuries as a pedestrian or bicyclist
- The driver is insured, but their policy will not compensate all of the victims or the full value of your case
Other Parties That Could be Protected By This Policy
In addition to the policyholder, UM/UIM policies may cover other accident victims, as well. This coverage may include:
- Your husband or wife
- Your children, stepchildren, or grandchildren living in your home
- Those driving your vehicle, assuming they had your permission
- Any passengers in your vehicle at the time of the accident
Pursuing Compensation in an Uninsured Driver Accident Case
In some cases, filing a claim and recovering damages through an UM policy is the best option for a payout. While we believe accountability is important, it is more important that you secure financial recovery than hold the liable party responsible.
If your insurance coverage provides for your medical treatment, covers lost wages, and pays out for other costs, you need to claim and collect that compensation.
You Might Need to File a Lawsuit for Damages
While rare, there may be situations where we believe the best option for compensation is to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to hold the at-fault driver liable. If there is reason to believe the at-fault driver has a large amount of available assets or can provide compensation for your injuries despite not having insurance coverage, we may discuss this option with you.
Pay Attention to Timelines That Could Affect Your Case
Per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33, we generally have two years to file a lawsuit based on a traffic accident. However, when filing an uninsured motorist claim, your insurer may have set their own deadlines to file a claim and begin negotiations.
We need to meet all applicable deadlines in your case. We encourage you to reach out to our team as soon as your injuries allow.
Consider retaining a lawyer to take on your accident case
Our Team Wants to Do All We Can to Help Your Family. We Can Do the Following:
We can look at your case, determine your options, check your insurance coverage, and make recommendations about your next steps. Let us review your case and discuss the claims process with you.
Your lawyer can also:
- Negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement
- Stand with you in court if the need arises
- Answer your questions
- Protect your rights
- File paperwork
- Obtain evidence that supports your case
Our mission is to hold the responsible parties accountable for the losses they caused you to suffer. We have succeeded in doing this for many of our clients, as these testimonials reflect:
- “…An absolutely fantastic and smooth experience with this firm handling my case… most definitely a great firm to work with and no doubt will definitely be recommending to everyone.” – Carmen H.
- “Bader Scott injury lawyers have been MOST amazing throughout this entire process. They were prompt, informative, hard working and CARING!” – Dakela B.
Ways to Help Your Case
There are things you can do after you get in an accident with an uninsured driver. These include:
- Refusing to speak to insurance companies without your lawyer
- Not accepting settlement offers before speaking to your lawyer
- Staying off social media
- Refraining from telling friends and family in-depth details about the accident
- Gathering all information you took at the accident scene, such as the other driver’s contact information, photos of vehicle damage, and any notes you have of what you saw or heard at the scene
Speak with a Member of Our Traffic Accident Team Today
At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we offer complimentary case evaluations. Discuss your case with us today and see if we can determine your best options for a payout. We take on clients following Atlanta car accidents based on contingency. We do not get paid unless you receive a settlement.
Call (404) 888-8888 now for a free consultation with a member of our team.