Underinsured Motorists in Georgia
Getting into a car accident can create havoc in a short time in your life. What’s more frustrating is to discover that the driver who was at fault for the accident is underinsured or doesn’t have insurance at all.
All states follow either the at-fault or no-fault rules for accidents. If the state follows a no-fault policy, each party involved in the accident will rely on their insurance company to cover their policyholder’s damages. Damages recovered can include medical bills, property damage, and more, up to the maximum limit your coverage allows.
An at-fault state views accidents as the responsibility of the party at fault. Therefore, the person responsible for the accident will utilize their insurance to pay for the damages caused to the other party. Georgia is an at-fault state.
Minimum Insurance Requirements for Georgia Residents
Due to Georgia being an at-fault state, each driver must carry a certain level of insurance that can cover the damages they may cause in an accident. The minimum limits required are $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 in property damage per incident.
While these limits may seem high, consider how quickly damages can add up following an accident. If there are injuries, even if insignificant, the injured likely will need medical attention, time away from work to recover, and to repair the damage to their vehicle. Body work on cars is expensive, not to mention medical bills that can quickly pile up following an injury, such as necessary physical therapy, surgery, and more. If you view it from this perspective, $25,000 doesn’t go very far.
Georgia doesn’t require its residents to carry physical damage insurance covering damage to your own vehicle, which could be comprehensive or collision insurance. Should you lease a vehicle, however, your lease company may require that you have this coverage.
Additional Insurance Coverage
Georgia residents can also add insurance coverage, such as stacked or unstacked. This coverage is also called Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage ( UM for short). Stacked coverage refers to utilizing the at fault driver’s insurance first and adding or “stacking” your UM on to that insurance. It adds coverage no matter what limits the at fault driver carries.
Unstacked coverage policies ( also known as “difference in limits”) won’t allow you to “double-dip” even if awarded more following a lawsuit. Unstacked is less appealing because of this, but it may be a cheaper option for those wanting additional coverage.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance?
In some cases, although required by law to have a minimum level of insurance coverage, some drivers don’t abide by this law. If a driver is found to be at fault for an accident and doesn’t have insurance coverage, your options for recourse are limited.
What may be an option is if you have additional coverage of your own. Suppose you purchased additional coverage beyond the required minimums. In that case, you may be able to pursue your own insurance for the medical costs, lost wages, and more that you incurred due to the accident.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance
A great way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to purchase Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Insurance. This additional coverage can help cover medical bills, lost wages, property damage, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and wrongful death.
Drivers are not required to purchase additional insurance, but with the staggering amount of drivers out there who aren’t following the law, it may be in your best interest to review your options.
No one plans for a car accident. The aftermath can be financially devastating, even in insignificant injury cases. Keep in mind the circumstances surrounding your need for additional coverage. Whether you have a family that may be traveling with you often, whether you live in a bustling city atmosphere or out in the country, and more can be factors to consider.
Pursue the Other Driver’s Assets
One option to recover damages from an underinsured or uninsured driver who is at fault may be to pursue them personally. If it is found that they were at fault for the accident and didn’t have enough insurance to cover, they may be forced to liquidate their assets to cover the cost of the damages.
The problem lies within the probability of the person having the assets to liquidate in the first place. Chances are, if they are choosing to forego the legally required limits on insurance, they aren’t typically going to be considered financially responsible and, therefore, may not have assets for you to pursue.
Review Every Angle
An option to pursue other parties that may have been involved in your accident is another angle that you may not yet have thought of. An example may be that the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, but they were working at the time, and their employer may be held liable, and therefore, the damages can be recovered through the employer.
Another example is if there was a third vehicle involved in the accident. Oftentimes, an accident results from multiple parties making mistakes that led to the accident. If this is the case with you, you may wish to pursue the other party personally or recover damages through their insurance if available.
A Challenging, But Rewarding Experience
Recovering damages from underinsured or uninsured motorists can prove to be challenging but also rewarding. Just when you may think that you don’t have options, if we can help you determine viable ones, we can work together to form an effective plan to pursue them.
We have many years of experience helping our clients overcome challenges to become financially whole again and move forward with their lives.
Call our office today at (706) 503-7811 to get started. We offer free initial consultations to learn more about your case and concerns.