If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, the last thing that you want to hear is that the at fault driver doesn’t have auto liability insurance. If the at fault driver was uninsured or underinsured (i.e. the driver purchased auto liability coverage but it is insufficient to cover your losses) then you have two options: you can file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim against your own insurance carrier. Or, you can sue the driver that injured you and attempt to recover compensation from the driver’s personal assets.
The accident lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC will help you identify all sources of insurance coverage that can potentially compensate you for your injuries. Once we identify all potential insurance coverage, we will create a comprehensive strategy that is designed to maximize the compensation that you can recover for your losses.
The lawyers at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC have recovered millions of dollars for car accident victims that were injured by uninsured or underinsured motorists. For a free, no-risk consultation, call (404) 419-6674 or submit the details online.
Georgia’s Auto Insurance Requirements
Every state in the U.S. requires vehicle owners to carry auto insurance. If you own or drive a vehicle in Georgia, then your policy must include:
- $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident of bodily injury coverage, and
- $25,000 of property damage coverage.
That coverage is meant to help victims that are injured when a driver carelessly causes a crash. That coverage is not intended to cover the driver’s own injuries or vehicle repairs.
What Is an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist?
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that 12 percent of Georgia drivers were uninsured in 2015. With that many uninsured drivers on the road, there is a real possibility that you could be catastrophically injured in a car collision without any auto insurance to cover your injuries or the property damage to your vehicle.
A negligent driver can also be underinsured. For instance, the driver might be a resident of a state with lower minimum insurance requirements than Georgia, such as Florida. Or, the driver might have purchased substantial auto insurance, but the cost of treating your serious injuries greatly exceeds the coverage that the driver purchased.
If you learn after an accident that the at-fault driver has no insurance coverage or insufficient coverage, call an uninsured motorist lawyer about pursuing compensation through an underinsured or uninsured motorist claim.
Will Your Insurance Cover an Uninsured or Underinsured Accident?
After an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident, you might be able to file a claim against your auto insurance carrier if you purchased one or more of the following coverages:
- Collision Coverage: If you paid for collision coverage, this coverage might cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. However, this coverage does not cover your medical bills.
- Medical Payments Coverage: If you purchased this type of coverage, you can submit your medical bills to your own insurer and request reimbursement for the bills up to the amount of coverage that you purchased.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: If you paid for uninsured motorist coverage, your own policy covers your losses up to the limits of coverage that you purchased. It can provide compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Underinsured Motorist Coverage: If you purchased underinsured motorist coverage this coverage will kick in if the losses you’ve suffered exceed the limits of the auto liability insurance coverage that the at fault driver purchased. It can provide compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This coverage may or may not be “stackable.”
If you purchased “stacking” or “add-on” coverage, the coverage that you purchased stacks on top of the at fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. So, if the at fault driver only purchased minimum coverage ($25,000), but you purchased $100,000 of stacking underinsured motorist coverage, you would have a total of $125,000 to compensate you for your losses.
If you didn’t purchase stacking coverage, the coverage on your policy is offset by the coverage on the at fault driver’s policy. So, if the at fault driver only purchased minimum coverage ($25,000), and you purchased $100,000 non-stacking underinsured motorist coverage, there would only be $100,000 coverage available to you.
Following an accident with an uninsured driver, you should immediately hire an uninsured motorist lawyer. Your lawyer will notify your insurer about the crash and provide them the basic information to setup the claim. Although you can do that on your own, the insurance adjuster will try and trick you into saying something harms the value of your case. Although they’re your insurer, they are not loyal to you. Their goal – just like the at fault driver’s insurance company – is to settle your claim for as little money as possible.
Our attorneys at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC will handle all aspects of the insurance claim process, including communicating with the adjuster, ensuring your vehicle is properly valued, and making sure that you receive as much compensation as possible through your policy.
Suing the Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist for Damages
Your other option, whether or not you had uninsured/underinsured insurance coverage, is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The decision to file a lawsuit under these circumstances should not be taken lightly. You should discuss with a lawyer after the accident.
If the only harm that you suffered as a result of the collision was damage to your vehicle, filing a lawsuit might not be worth the time and cost. In fact, most motor vehicle accident lawyers will not accept cases involving only property damage. It can be a tough pill to swallow, but an experienced attorney might recommend bearing the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle yourself.
On the other hand, if you were seriously injured in the crash, an uninsured motorist lawyer might recommend that you file a personal injury lawsuit. Whether or not that is the right course of action depends a great deal on the at-fault driver’s financial circumstances. Your attorney will investigate whether the at fault driver has substantial personal assets. If the at-fault driver has substantial assets and steady income, it might be worth during the driver to recover damages for your losses. However, if the at-fault driver has few or no personal assets, you will likely spend more money pursuing a civil judgment against that driver than you’ll ever recover from that driver.
Call an Uninsured Motorist Attorney for Advice Today
If you’ve been seriously injured in an auto accident, you will likely have months, years, or sometimes even a lifetime of future medical treatment. Every additional insurance dollar makes a difference. Attorneys that advertise on buses and billboards don’t have time to investigate every source of potential insurance coverage. They want to settle your case as quickly as possible, even if that means that they will overlook sources of significant additional insurance coverage.
At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, we have the time, the dedication, and the resources to recover every last insurance dollar that you’re entitled to receive. If the driver that injured you was uninsured or underinsured, we’ll do everything we can to recover all of the insurance money that is available to you. If there’s insufficient coverage, we will investigate the at fault driver’s personal assets to determine whether it is worthwhile for you to sue the driver.