What happens if the other driver does not have enough insurance? You should know the consequences of such an event since the possibility of getting harmed by an uninsured or underinsured driver is very real. The leading auto accident attorneys at The Jewkes Firm can discuss all options and advise you on the best strategy for maximizing your recovery.
Car Accidents in Georgia
There is an enormous amount of pain and suffering in the aftermath of a vehicle accident. Hospital bills and car repair costs can greatly add to the pain and suffering. Hence, it is helpful when the at-fault driver has enough insurance to pay for your bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. Unfortunately, many drivers are uninsured or underinsured, due to which you may not be able to recover compensation for your losses. On a national level, anywhere from 12% to 20% of drivers on the road are uninsured, even though every state requires a driver to carry minimum coverage.
Uninsured Drivers in Georgia
In Georgia, at least 12% of drivers were uninsured in 2015. Hence, 12 of every 100 drivers have no insurance to pay for your losses. In our experience, these uninsured drivers tend to be the ones who are most careless on the roads and cause the most accidents. Equally disturbing is the fact that an even greater percentage of drivers carry just the minimum insurance, which may not be enough to cover your losses. In Georgia, the state only requires that drivers carry $25,000 of liability insurance to be legal. If you are insured by a driver with minimum limits but your injuries and losses exceed $25,000, then you risk not being fully compensated for your loss.
What Happens When You Are Hit by an Uninsured Motorist in Georgia
If an uninsured motorist collides with you in Georgia, you may benefit from your auto insurance policy. You will need proper coverage to ensure that you do not pay out of your own pocket when hit by an uninsured driver in Georgia. You will also need a good auto accident attorney in Georgia to fight for your rights.
To recover your financial losses, you will need to purchase uninsured motorist coverage along with liability coverage. This coverage option is not required in Georgia. However, considering that at least 12% of drivers in Georgia are uninsured, you will be well advised to carry this option for greater safety.
Uninsured motorist coverage may help you to recover your monetary losses when an uninsured motorist is at fault for the vehicle accident. See O.C.G.A. 33-7-11.
Bear in mind that uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory in Georgia. So you will have to specifically mention to your insurer that you need it. Your insurer will likely be offering this coverage option.
Quite often, the amount of this coverage does not go beyond the standard liability coverage. In other words, if your standard liability coverage is $50,000 for an accident, then uninsured motorist coverage will typically not exceed this value.
“Add On” vs. “Reduced By” UM Coverage
It is very important to choose “add on” uninsured motorist coverage to your policy, not “reduced by” coverage. The difference is that “add on” UM coverage applies to cover you in excess of what the at-fault driver’s coverage is while “reduced by” coverage subtracts what the at-fault driver’s policy provided. For example, if you have $25,000 of “add on” UM coverage and the at-fault driver had $25,000 of coverage, then your have total coverage of $50,000. However, if your UM coverage is “reduced by,” then under the same facts your total coverage would only be $25,000 because your UM coverage of $25,000 would subtract or be reduced by the $25,000 coverage of the atfault driver. When in doubt, make sure your UM coverage is “add on” or excess to any other coverage. This is worth a call to your insurance company to make the change, if necessary.
Auto insurance is mandatory in Georgia. This provides reassurance for responsible drivers. Unfortunately, a small minority choose to disregard the rules and go without mandatory auto insurance. You will need uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself against these irresponsible drivers. Remember, 12% of Georgia drivers have no qualms about violating rules and risking jail by skipping mandatory auto insurance. These motorists are most likely to drive recklessly and cause car wrecks since they obviously have little regard for rules and safety. You will be well advised to obtain uninsured motorist coverage to protect yourself against such elements.
Underinsured motorist coverage is the same as uninsured motorist coverage in Georgia, practically speaking. As you may have guessed, underinsured motorist coverage provides benefits when the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to pay for your fiscal losses. Once the insurance policy of the underinsured motorist pays benefits to you, underinsured motorist coverage will pay for the remainder of your losses up to the coverage limit.
One important point to remember is that a time limit is often stipulated in your insurance policy for claiming benefits. You must contact your insurer within this time frame to claim your benefits. If you fail to inform within this time frame, your insurer might refuse to pay benefits.
What to Do After an Auto Accident in Georgia
Always consult with a qualified auto accident attorney in Georgia following an accident, even if you may be at fault. From the moment of crash and for the few days following, there are many decisions made that will impact how the accident claim plays out.
A good attorney can help you get your well-deserved compensation from your insurer as well as the insurer of the at-fault driver. If insurers use stalling tactics or flat out deny benefits, your attorney can handle them and force them to pay. You can trust your attorney to remain one step ahead of insurers and foil their denial tactics.
But what if the motorist is uninsured? Your attorney can file a lawsuit and force such offenders to pay you the settlement that you so truly deserve. Contact a qualified and experience attorney at The Jewkes Firm for a free consultation.