Nobody expects to be involved in a motor vehicle collision, yet car crashes happen all the time in the Atlanta region and throughout the state of Georgia. When a crash does occur, the people who suffer injuries commonly are not the ones who are at fault for the car accident.
Rather, a negligent driver is often liable for the accident and for resulting injuries. But what happens when you are involved in a car accident with someone without insurance? You may begin searching terms like “car accident other driver has no insurance” or “car accident other person no insurance” to determine what your options are.
At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., we routinely assist clients with car accident claims when the other driver does not have valid insurance, or in situations where the other driver is underinsured. An experienced Athens car accident attorney at our firm can speak with you today about your options for seeking financial compensation.
How to File a Car Accident Claim When the Other Driver Does Not Have Insurance
What happens if you get hit by someone without insurance? Georgia law requires drivers to have insurance, but not all drivers abide by the law. In most car wreck cases, you will want to begin seeking compensation by filing an insurance claim.
The process of filing a claim may not be so different from what you might do if the other driver did have insurance. To understand why it’s important to know how a person files a car accident claim with an insurance company.
Since Georgia is a fault-based state in terms of insurance, most car accidents result in the injured party having the option of filing a claim either with her own auto insurance company (known as a first-party claim) or with the negligent driver’s auto insurance company (known as a third-party claim). There are benefits and limitations to both of these options.
When an injured person files a first-party claim, they are responsible for paying up front the deductible associated with their insurance policy. However, a first-party claim may proceed more quickly. Differently, when an injured person files a third-party claim, he or she is not responsible for paying a deductible since the claim goes through the negligent party’s insurance. However, the injured person can run into policy limits depending upon the total amount of damages, and the claim may take a longer amount of time.
If you are involved in a crash with an uninsured driver in Georgia, you do not have the option of filing a third-party claim. Rather, you can only file a first-party insurance claim through your own auto insurance company. When you file with your own insurance company, it’s important to know whether you have uninsured motorist coverage.
How Can Uninsured Motorist Coverage Help with My Claim?
Georgia uninsured motorist coverage is an option for policyholders. Georgia law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. This type of insurance is supposed to ensure that, in cases where an insured driver causes an accident, anyone who has suffered damages can seek compensation. Liability insurance requirements are as following:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 per accident (or “occurrence”) for bodily injury liability
- $25,000 per accident (or “occurrence”) for property damage
There are several reasons in which this required coverage may be insufficient. In some cases, the amount of damages from a collision might be more than the limits, meaning the at-fault driver is underinsured. In other situations, the driver might not be insured at all.
Sometimes uninsured drivers don’t realize their insurance has lapsed, and in other cases the driver intentionally allows the insurance to lapse. Either way, the injured party cannot go through the at-fault driver’s insurance for compensation.
Here is where uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage (also known as UM/UIM coverage) can be helpful. This is optional, and it typically means that your policy costs a little bit more.
Under Georgia law, auto insurance companies are required to make this option available to drivers. In some cases, drivers will have to decline or reject the coverage — meaning it is included in policy unless the driver explicitly rejects it — while in other cases drivers will need to request UM/UIM coverage.
Steps for Moving Forward with Your Claim After a Crash Caused by an Uninsured Driver
Now that you know more about filing a car accident claim and more about UM/UIM coverage, you can move forward with your claim with the help of an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer. Generally speaking, anytime you are involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, the following steps should be taken:
- Determine whether you have UM/UIM coverage: if your insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage, filing a first-party claim through your own insurance often is the best way to ensure that you receive full compensation for your losses
- Double-check the at-fault driver’s coverage: if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, the next thing you should do it to determine whether the at-fault driver actually was uninsured at the time of the accident (it is possible that the driver was in fact covered even though the insurance company reported that the policy had lapsed)
- Determine whether the at-fault driver can compensate you: if you do not have uninsured motorist coverage and the at-fault driver was not insured at the time of the collision, you will want to determine whether the at-fault driver has the means to compensate you for your losses (if so, you may be able to seek compensation by filing a car accident lawsuit)
- File an auto accident lawsuit: even if the at-fault driver was uninsured and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage, it is possible that the at-fault driver has the means to compensate you, and you can seek compensation by filing a lawsuit. The court can determine whether the at-fault driver is responsible for damages and can enter a judgment requiring that at-fault driver to pay.
Contact a Georgia Car Accident Attorney
If you need assistance filing a claim after suffering injuries in a collision caused by an uninsured driver, an aggressive Georgia uninsured car accident lawyer can get started on your case with you today. Contact Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. for a free consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case.
We have offices in Atlanta, Athens, and Lake Oconee and take cases across the state of Georgia. We offer free consultations and there is no fee unless we win your case.