What If A Driver Is Uninsured/Underinsured?
Believe it or not, Georgia didn’t use to require drivers to carry auto liability insurance. As a result, many injured car accident victims didn’t have access to insurance coverage. An auto collision victim could still sue the driver of the vehicle that injured them, but that was usually fruitless because most of us don’t have significant assets. In fact, a recent study performed by Bankrate revealed that most Americans don’t even have enough savings to cover an unexpected $1,000 medical bill.
Nowadays, Georgians are required to carry auto liability insurance. However, Georgia only mandates that each driver carry $25,000 liability coverage per accident victim and a total of $50,000 coverage for the accident no matter how many people are injured. If you’re seriously injured in a car accident, $25,000 won’t remotely compensate you for your losses. In fact, most of our clients are injured by an underinsured driver, i.e. a driver that has liability insurance coverage, but it’s not sufficient to cover all of the harms caused by the at fault driver.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you should contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer. One of your lawyer’s most important responsibilities is to identify all sources of insurance coverage that can potentially compensate you for your injuries. Even if the at fault driver was underinsured (or uninsured in the rare case), there may be additional sources of insurance coverage that are available to you.
For instance, if you purchased the right kind of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, that coverage will stack on top of the at fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. If you were a passenger in another driver’s vehicle that had purchased stacking uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you will typically be covered by that driver’s policy, as well.
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. Call us today at (404) 419-6674, or reach out through our online form to schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case.
What Is Stacking Insurance Coverage?
Immediately after you read this article, you should review your auto insurance policy to make sure that you purchased “add on” or “stacking” uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you purchased that type of 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.
$125,000 is much better than $100,000, right?
The difference is even starker if the at fault driver and you both only purchased minimum limit non-stacking coverage. In that scenario, the $25,000 of liability coverage from the at fault driver’s policy would offset the $25,000 non-stacking underinsured motorist coverage on your policy. You’d only have $25,000 available coverage, rather than $50,000 coverage. The value of many car accident victims’ cases falls in the range of $25,000 to $50,000, so the loss of that additional $25,000 coverage can make a huge difference.
Make Sure That You Are “Fully Covered”
Many of our clients insist that they are “fully covered” before we review their auto insurance policy. They understand that phrase to mean that they have purchased stacking underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
More often than not, our clients did not actually purchase stacking coverage. Instead, they purchased “reduced” or “difference in limits” coverage which does not stack. Indeed, they are far from “fully covered”.
It’s not our clients’ fault – the auto insurance companies go out of their way to urge you not to purchase add-on stacking coverage. They’ll tell you that your premium will be lower if you don’t purchase stacking coverage. That’s true, but they’re not telling you that your monthly premium savings is only about $5-$10. When you compare that slight monthly savings to the tens of thousands (or sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars) that would stack on top of the at fault driver’s coverage – the decision to purchase add-on coverage is a no-brainer.
Will My Premiums Increase If I Make An Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Claim Against My Own Insurance Policy?
No. It is against the law for your own insurance carrier to raise your premiums if you make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
Georgia Code 33-9-40 provides that “no insurer shall surcharge the premium or rate charged on a policy of motor vehicle insurance or cancel such policy as a result of the insured’s person in a multivehicle accident when such person was not at fault in such accident.”
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC Can Help
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 insurance carrier attempts to deny coverage, we’ll sue them until we obtain justice for our clients.