Though required Under Georgia Law to possess insurance coverage when operating a motor vehicle, plenty of vehicles on Georgia’s roads lack insurance. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10 requires that all vehicles carry insurance with mandatory minimums of $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident. Still, we speak to numerous clients every year that were involved in a car accident in which the other driver’s car was uninsured. Even worse, the police report will show that the other driver has valid insurance only to find out days later from the listed insurance company that the at-fault driver’s insurance had lapsed. Thus, the question always turns to “what now?”
First and foremost, you must confirm that the other driver truly lacked insurance. Many times this requires multiple phone calls and certified letters to both the uninsured driver and the driver’s old insurance company, if there is one listed on the police report. Often times, your own insurance company will also investigate into whether the other driver truly lacked insurance coverage. Assuming all of these avenues fail to show insurance coverage, then you must turn towards your own insurance policy through coverage known as underinsured/uninsured motorist (UM) coverage.
UM Coverage is not required under Georgia Law, so you must first look at your own policy to see if you have paid for such coverage. The minimum coverage in Georgia would be $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident. Georgia also allows for two (2) different types of UM Liability coverage: Traditional/Offsetting Coverage and Add-On Coverage. If you find that you did not purchase any such coverage, then another option would be to look at other auto insurance coverage policies within your household. Georgia Law does allow for you to use any UM coverage that family members may have who live in your household but have separate insurance policies for cars parked at that residence. Unfortunately, if all of these avenues fail to uncover any UM coverage, then your chances of recovery are slim.
Thus, you can see the need to hire a local attorney experienced in all aspects of car accident claims as many different avenues to finding insurance coverage exists. However, time is of the essence in locating insurance coverage, failure to alert or notify the auto insurance carrier of a possible claim can bar recovery.
If you do find UM coverage on your policy, then you will proceed with making a UM claim through your own insurance carrier. You will treat this case much like the way you would treat your case as if the other driver did have insurance coverage. First and foremost, you need to seek medical treatment and avoid gaps in your medical care. This means you need to listen and follow through with the recommendations made by your doctor. You also need to communicate with your doctor about what in the treatment plan is working and what is not working. The primary focus is receiving effective and efficient medical care.
Once you are done treating, your attorney will collect all of your medical records and bills for treatment related to the collision and submit them along with a settlement demand letter to your insurance carrier in an attempt to settle your claim. Attorneys typically detail the accident, your injuries, symptoms etc. in a demand package. The demand proposal outlines all of these while proposing a reasonable settlement amount after consideration of the medical bills and your having to endure needless pain and suffering. Your own insurance company will evaluate the claim and make an offer based upon their analysis. Thus, the only difference in a case like this and a case where the other driver has valid insurance is the fact that it is your own insurance paying you a settlement. The fact that the other driver failed to purchase insurance on his/her vehicle does not mean that your rights to recovery are gone, but instead, seek the advice of a local attorney in order to adequately protect your rights.
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Your Health Comes First
At our law firm, nothing is more important than your health and well-being. After an accident that causes serious injury, it is important that you get the medical attention you need to recover. Do not put off seeking treatment after an accident. As you begin your recovery, we will assess your situation and review your insurance policy to determine if MedPay can cover some or all of your medical expenses. If it does not, we will help you determine your options.
Never Settling Until You Are Ready
At our law firm, we are focused on doing what is right for you. We will never push you into a resolution that you are not comfortable with or recommend that you settle your case before you are ready. We want what is best for you and will do everything in our power to achieve it.
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