According to Carinsurance.com, about 12 percent of drivers in the state of Georgia are uninsured (New Mexico has the highest percentage of uninsured drivers (29%). Since you are not legally required to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in the state, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, you could find yourself in an untenable position without this coverage.
One of the worst things to hear is that the driver who caused your accident has no auto insurance. If you suffered a serious injury and property damage, you are likely worried. After all, who will pay your medical bills or your lost wages, and how will your vehicle get repaired?
Generally speaking, you have three options when the at-fault driver has no auto insurance.
- You can seek compensation from the at-fault driver
- You can claim compensation from your own insurer
- You can pay the damages yourself
Realistically, if the driver cannot afford to buy car insurance, you are unlikely to get anything, even if you sue them and even if a court finds the case in your favor. Few people in Atlanta have the financial resources to pay all the expenses on their own. That leaves the second option—filing a claim with your own insurance company.
What is UM/UIM Coverage?
Under Georgia law, drivers must carry liability insurance of the following amounts:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver or one with just the minimum coverage, you may find yourself stuck in a bad situation. When this occurs, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company. However, this option is only available if you paid for uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage through your insurer.
Georgia law requires insurance companies to offer UM/UIM coverage when you first purchase insurance. However, you can reject this coverage in writing. Check your declarations page to see if you purchased UM/UIM coverage.
If you did purchase UM/UIM coverage, your policy should protect you if you are hurt in an accident involving:
- A driver without insurance
- A driver with minimal insurance
- A hit and run accident where the “at fault” party is never found
- A driver who hits you while you are walking or biking
Filing With Your Own Insurance Company Following an Atlanta Car Accident with an Uninsured Driver
If you do have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, it is important to know that your own insurance company is now the adverse party. This means your insurer could be fighting against your request for a full and fair settlement. Insurance companies in general do everything they can to keep their financial bottom line healthy. It also means they are likely to offer you as little as possible.
You must act quickly in this situation as there may be deadlines for filing an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company—less time than the time you have to file a court case. If the at-fault driver had minimal insurance –that is, he or she was significantly underinsured—it may become even more difficult to recover from your own insurance company.
That is unless you specifically carry underinsured motorist coverage. (Some insurance companies put uninsured/underinsured coverage together, while others separate them).
Having an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney by your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of this situation, as insurance companies are less likely to fight your request for a fair settlement when an attorney is involved.
If you carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy, it may also cover your spouse living in the same household, children and step-children residing in your home, anyone using your insured vehicle with your consent, and guests riding as passengers in your vehicle. An experienced Atlanta car accident attorney can review your specific policy to determine what limits and rules apply.
If you are filing with your own insurer because you have UM/UIM coverage, there may be special reporting requirements as far as providing notice to your insurers. Make sure you know what your policy covers and understand any special requirements.
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
The Atlanta car accident attorneys at Kim Law Team can help injured car accident victims and their families in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. From Peachtree Street and beyond, we can be there for you at a moment’s notice. We have what it takes to win your case. Our law firm offers FREE initial consultations and reviews, so you can get the answers you need – when you need them. We know that you need someone on your side after a crash, and we want to be the first — and only — call you need to make! Call 404-587-8946 or fill out our confidential contact form. Just call and JUST WIN.