Nationally, 1 in 8 drivers doesn’t have insurance coverage. Here in Georgia, according to a survey by the Insurance Research Council, approximately 12% of drivers were uninsured in 2015.
Georgia law requires all drivers to have the right auto insurance coverage before getting behind the wheel. However, this doesn’t stop many drivers from disobeying traffic rules to save money by not paying insurance premiums. Unfortunately, this reckless choice not only endangers themselves but also makes it challenging for others to receive essential financial compensation after suffering personal injuries and property damage in a motor vehicle accident they caused.
If you were in an uninsured driver accident in Georgia (as a bicyclist, motorist, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist) and sustained severe injuries or property damage as a result — or if the at-fault driver fled the accident scene in a hit-and-run — contact our experienced Atlanta car accident law firm today at (678) 251-9309 for a free case review. At Marks Law Group, we offer a FREE initial consultation with a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury attorney near you. We’ve helped hundreds of car crash victims get through this difficult time and secure the financial compensation they deserve, and we can help you too.
Georgia is a fault-based auto insurance state. If you are in an automobile accident, the responsible party pays for the damage. Often, this means their auto liability insurance pays because Georgia requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of liability car insurance.
Georgia’s auto liability coverage requirements include:
These are the minimum automobile liability insurance coverage requirements in Georgia. Also, drivers can carry bodily injury and property damage coverage in higher amounts.
Drivers can opt to purchase higher insurance policy limits and additional insurance coverage. Other types of insurance coverage include collision, comprehensive, medical payments, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance coverage pay for certain damages when the at-fault party doesn’t have any liability auto insurance coverage or their policy limit is less than what your losses are worth.
Georgia’s uninsured motorist law decrees that insurance companies must offer this type of insurance coverage. However, drivers don’t have to buy it. But it’s in your best interest to buy as much uninsured motorist insurance coverage as you can afford. This is because it’s like buying liability insurance for the at-fault driver. It covers you and your resident relatives in car crashes involving uninsured or underinsured drivers.
Uninsured drivers are a serious threat to the 7 million licensed motorists in Georgia and everyone else who uses Georgia’s roadways. Georgia is a fault-based state.
Unlike no-fault states, every licensed motorist in Georgia is required by O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10 to carry minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage to cover the damage they cause in a motor vehicle collision.
Drivers in the few “no-fault” states have minimum insurance coverage limits too, but before filing a personal injury claim with the negligent party’s insurer, they must first exhaust their own medical pay and/or personal injury protection benefits. Some states require the injured party to prove their personal injuries meet certain statutory severity thresholds. Injured pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists might have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of their own, but if not, they can file a PIP claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Georgia’s car accident injury claims are straightforward as the injured party begins their quest for financial compensation with the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability policy. Under Georgia’s auto insurance law, all drivers are mandated to carry minimum auto insurance, currently in the amounts of 25/50/25.
However, what if the motorist who caused the auto collision was uninsured?
Our Decatur car accident attorneys explain to our clients they can secure UM coverage, they just need to prove (as you would in any Georgia motor vehicle case) the other party is to blame for the accident.
You can do this by showing the at-fault driver breached their responsibility to use reasonable care by violating traffic regulation and caused the auto accident that caused your bodily injuries. You must prove all three points to establish negligence. Also, you must show that the reckless driver doesn’t have insurance coverage, and the terms of your own insurance policy require your insurance company to step in and cover your medical bills, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages instead.
Uninsured motorist coverage isn’t the sole source of recovery in the cases, but often it’s the primary source of recovery.
Should you hit an uninsured driver, don’t just drive away and forget about it. Under Georgia law, you report the crash, especially if the damage is over the threshold limit of $1,000. Also, if injuries are involved, you may be breaking the law by fleeing the scene of an accident. Not reporting the accident altogether can result in hefty fines and legal consequences.
Further, once an insured driver hits an uninsured driver, the uninsured driver may still face legal consequences for their lack of insurance.
If your state has a mandatory auto insurance requirement, or if you can’t comply with the insurance alternatives, you can still file a car accident claim against the insured driver. However, insurance adjusters are likely to report your lack of insurance to the state. Most states, including Georgia, have a requirement that you must have a minimum amount of insurance coverage. So, not complying with the requirement results in your driver’s license revocation license for a year or more.
The legal consequences of your lack of insurance might have worsened by the time you contact an insurer. Based on the circumstances of the accident and your state's laws, a police officer may come to the accident scene and write an accident report. This is helpful in pursuing your insurance claim against the responsible person, but also it means that punishment for driving without auto insurance is certain.
Another critical consequence of the motor vehicle collision and your insurance claim is that the other driver may seek to pursue damages from you. However, this will happen irrespective of whether you proceed with your accident claim. If the insured driver carries an uninsured/underinsured auto insurance policy, they can proceed with an insurance claim against their own insurance company, or if they feel they can collect a favorable judgment, they may proceed with an accident claim against you personally. In some states, your liability could be limited to the deductible of the insured driver's insurance policy.
As far as how much you can expect to collect in a UM claim, your personal injury/wrongful death lawyer can give you a more precise answer based on the unique circumstances of your case.
The monetary value on your UM claim will depend on:
The third point refers more to uninsured motorist coverage, where the at-fault driver is uninsured, but their insurance coverage doesn’t cover all your losses. Added-on insurance coverage lets you collect whatever the full amount of UM/UIM policy purchased on top of what you the at-fault party’s insurance company paid. Traditional/reduced insurance policies only pay the difference after the at-fault party’s liability/umbrella insurance coverage is exhausted.
After a car accident, you must hire an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney as soon as possible to avoid negotiating insurance settlements yourself because the insurance limits won’t be “exhausted” if you settle with the at-fault party or their insurer for less than the insurance policy limits in question, as was ruled by U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in the Coker v. American Liability Ins. Co., a 2016 appeal from the U.S. District Court in Northern Georgia.
Trust the Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Marks Law Group to be your advocates in a car accident claim if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Georgia.
At Marks Law Group, our uninsured and underinsured motorist accident attorneys have handled thousands of Georgia auto accident claims. Our skilled Atlanta uninsured motorist accident attorneys have stood toe-to-toe with insurance companies and helped thousands of car accident victims get the maximum possible compensation to cover their lost wages, medical costs, property damage, pain and suffering, and other losses.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle crash, motorcycle accident, or trucking accident with an underinsured driver, you can still recover compensation. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our Decatur auto accident attorneys today at (678) 251-9309, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.