If you were involved in a car collison due to the negligence of another, in many cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for the damages. However, what happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? While it’s illegal for motorists in Georgia to drive without insurance, some still choose to get behind the wheel, risking the well-being of other drivers. If you find yourself involved in a motor vehicle accident with a driver that has no insurance, you may be worried about how you can recover compensation for accident-related damages.
Handling a Car Accident with an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver
Before diving into what you should do after you find yourself involved in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, first, let’s look at Georgia’s auto insurance requirements.
In the state of Georgia, drivers are required to carry the following types of insurance coverage:
A motorist is required to carry liability insurance. If you were at-fault for a collision, liability coverage will help pay for the other driver’s accident-related losses, if they’re injured or their vehicle is damaged.
This type of insurance will pay for the damage or loss of the policyholder’s vehicle. There are two types of physical damage coverage:
Comprehensive physical damage insurance covers fire, vandalism, or theft-related losses.
This type of physical damage insurance covers damages associated with motor vehicle crashes.
While the state of Georgia does not require a motorist to obtain physical damage coverage, if a driver is leasing or financing a vehicle, the leasing company or lender company often requires it.
Additionally, policyholders are allowed to file auto insurance claims under this type of coverage, even when other drivers caused the collisions.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While all motorists in the state are required to have liability insurance, some drivers may end up having their insurance canceled or their insurance policies may lapse. When an uninsured driver causes an auto accident that results in injuries or vehicle damage, if the injured driver has uninsured motorist coverage, they can file an insurance claim against their own insurance company, instead of filing a lawsuit against the uninsured at-fault driver.
Georgia does not require motorists to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage insurance, however, Georgia does require insurance companies to make both types of insurance available when a driver signs up for insurance. This means some drivers may have both types of coverage without even realizing it. However, drivers can refuse both underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage in writing.
Uninsured Versus Underinsured Coverage
While uninsured motorist coverage can be used to file a claim against your insurance company if the other driver does not have insurance, underinsured motorist coverage is often used when an accident victim is injured and files a claim against the other motorist’s insurance company, but the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage, meaning, they do not have enough coverage to compensate the accident victim for all of their damages. In this case, the injured party could file a claim against their own insurance company for any remaining damages that were not covered in their accident claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
Taking Action After an Auto Accident With an Uninsured Driver
If you were involved in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, the first step is contacting a personal injury attorney. An experienced accident attorney can determine what legal options are available based on the facts of your case.
A personal injury lawyer will likely present a couple of different options:
- File a claim against your own insurance company
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
Uninsured Motorist Claims
If the other driver involved in the motor vehicle crash did not have insurance, filing a lawsuit against them may only result in wasted time and money. In most cases, if a driver doesn’t have auto insurance, they most likely will not have valuable assets. This means you may end up with a judgment that’s unenforceable.
When you file a claim against your own insurance company, you may be surprised when the insurance adjuster refuses to offer the settlement amount you deserve for your damages. In some cases, the insurance company may even deny your claim.
Working with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your damages.
Negotiating with an Insurance Company
An auto accident lawyer will handle all communication with the insurance company. During this time, they will go back and forth with the insurance company, rejecting a settlement offer and sending over a counteroffer. This process can take several weeks, months, or years.
If an insurance company continues to offer a settlement amount that’s unfair, the other legal option is to pursue compensation in court. However, most cases are settled out of court. Trials are very expensive and time-consuming and are the last thing an insurance company wants to deal with. Your attorney may encourage you to agree to file a lawsuit if the insurance company is dragging its feet if your attorney feels that you will have a better chance of obtaining the compensation you deserve in court. A personal injury lawyer also knows that most insurance companies are more likely to offer a fair settlement once it realizes your attorney is prepared to take your case to court.
Damages in an Auto Accident Claim
If you were injured and/or your vehicle was damaged or totaled, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical costs
- Vehicle damage/property damage
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
Your attorney will investigate your accident claim to determine which damages you’re eligible to pursue.
Contact Cambre & Associates Today
If you were involved in an auto accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, contact the legal team at Cambre and Associates today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney. At your consultation, you can discuss the facts of your case. You will also have all of your questions answered and learn about your legal rights and options, based on the unique factors of your case. If you decide to work with our attorneys, our legal team can get started investigating your accident right away and help you pursue the compensation you deserve for the damages caused by the negligence of another. Contact our law office today to schedule your no-obligation, free consultation today.