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, but those consequences do little to help the victims of the collision they caused. 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 the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) § 33-7-11, drivers in Georgia must carry at least a minimum amount of auto liability insurance coverage, but 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, or the amount of coverage you opted for in your policy, in an accident where you suffered injuries with 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.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Georgia Requires Opting Out of UM Coverage in Writing
According to the Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, since 2008, Georgia law has required 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.
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. While they may provide important coverage following an accident with an uninsured driver, and it may seem easier to file a claim with your insurer, you may not want to try to navigate this claims process by yourself. A 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, and who is covered.
If necessary, they can also help you explore other options, if any, for recovering damages.
In general, you may need to file an 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
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
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.
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, then you need to claim and collect that compensation.
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 filing a claim and beginning negotiations. It is important that we meet all applicable deadlines in your case. We encourage you to reach out to our team as soon as your injuries allow.
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 for free today.
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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.