Am I Out Of Luck If I Have An Accident With An Uninsured Driver?
A motor vehicle accident is always a difficult thing to go through, and can leave you with serious medical bills if the accident was severe. However, Georgia is a “fault” state, meaning that if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, it is their insurance that would pay your bills – and if you have the bad luck to be in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you may feel as though you have nowhere to turn. This is not always the case, though, and an experienced attorney may be able to help you clarify matters.
Statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimate that approximately 12 percent of Georgia drivers are uninsured, despite Georgia law requiring every motorist to carry insurance against both bodily injury and property damage. Georgia is a “fault” state (as opposed to states like Florida, which follow “no-fault” systems requiring all accidents to be covered by the individual’s insurance), which means that in the event of an auto accident caused by another person’s negligence, the at-fault driver’s insurance should pay the bills for the injured person.
When the at-fault driver has no insurance, an injured plaintiff has one other option to try and seek damages, and that is to bring suit against them directly. A personal injury suit in negligence for the injuries you have suffered may be successful, assuming that you can establish that the driver failed to exercise reasonable care and that your suffering had no other cause. However, many drivers are judgment proof; in other words, they may have no assets to reach to try and pay for your bills.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
The other, somewhat more sure way to recover after an accident with an uninsured motorist is to make a claim against any uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage that you may have. You may not be aware that you have it, but in Georgia, companies are required by law to offer UIM coverage to you when you purchase your standard insurance. Unless you have refused UIM coverage in writing, you might have the coverage and not even be aware of it.
If you do have it, be advised that it still may not be quite enough. If your coverage is “traditional,” it means that it does not ‘stack’ with an at-fault driver’s insurance. For example, if you have the same amount of UIM coverage that the at-fault driver has in regular insurance, you cannot use your UIM coverage because there is no overlap. If your coverage does ‘stack,’ that means the coverage is open to be used at any time, even if the at-fault driver does have some insurance. Either way, with stacking coverage, you are in good hands.
Contact A Marietta Auto Accident Attorney
Automobile accidents can leave someone in a serious bind, and finding out that the negligent driver who caused it can be a frightening addition. If you have been in a car crash, the Marietta car accident lawyers at The Strickland Firm are ready to try and assist you in recovering so to ensure your bills are paid. Contact our offices today to speak to an attorney.