You are waiting at the stop light when suddenly someone hits you violently from behind. Next thing you know you’re having pain in your neck and back. The accident was definitely the fault of the other driver, but when you exchange insurance information you learn that the at-fault driver does not have insurance. Or worse, you have severe injuries and the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. Under normal circumstances, you could file a claim with the at fault driver’s insurance company, but what are your options when you’ve been hit by a negligent Georgia driver who has little or no coverage?
Auto Insurance Requirements In Georgia
Although Georgia law requires all motorists in the state to carry auto insurance, there are an estimated 11 percent of drivers who are uninsured. All drivers must have the following minimum amounts for liability coverage:
- $25,000 for bodily injury/per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury/per accident
- $25,000 for property damage/per accident
When you pay for the minimum coverage in Georgia, the policy will automatically increase if you have an accident in a state where the insurance requirements are higher. However, Georgia drivers are not required to have personal injury protection or uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Although it is not required in Georgia, getting uninsured motorist coverage is the best way to protect yourself and your family against uninsured drivers. This type of insurance allows you to file a claim with your insurance company if you need to seek damages after an accident that involved:
- An uninsured driver;
- A driver who does not have adequate coverage to compensate everyone who was injured;
- A hit-and-run driver who was at-fault, but is not identifiable; and
- A driver who hit you walking or biking.
Uninsured motorist insurance usually covers anyone else listed on your policy. This includes your spouse, children, any relatives in your household, passengers in your vehicle, and anyone who has consent to use your vehicle. It’s important to check the specifics of your policy to know exactly who will be covered.
How Fault Affects Your Case
In Georgia, you can only collect compensation from another driver if you were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If you and the uninsured driver were equally at fault, neither can recover. However, if the uninsured driver was 51 percent or more at fault for the accident, you can seek damages from them.
Your Options For Compensation
If the uninsured driver is the at-fault driver, you basically have two options: sue them or file a claim with your own insurance. Chances of collecting any funds if you sue the driver are probably limited since a driver who can’t afford to pay auto insurance probably won’t have enough money to pay you. Filing a claim with your insurance is the best option for recovering any damages. This is why uninsured motorist coverage is so important; it is supposed to protect you from the financial disaster of being injured by an uninsured driver.
Filing A Lawsuit
If your insurance company will not pay your claim, you will need a lawyer to file a lawsuit. Georgia law requires you to obtain a judgement against the at-fault driver before you can force your insurance company to pay.
Working With An Attorney
If you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact Williams Elleby. We can help Marietta, Kennesaw, Cobb County, and Georgia residents decide the appropriate action to take after your car accident. Let our legal team work to get you fair compensation so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.