If you live in the state of Georgia, you are required to purchase insurance for your car or motorcycle. It's the law.
Unfortunately, there are many drivers on Georgia's roads and highways operating vehicles without insurance coverage. If one of those drivers crashes into you, there is no insurance company to negotiate with.
It will be extremely difficult to recover from the at-fault individual for all of your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage to your vehicle. Unless...
You have uninsured/underinsured motorists' coverage (UM/UIM).
If you're not sure that you have UM or UIM, check your declarations of coverage sheet. If you don't see it on your insurance policy, we highly recommend you call your agent and sign up for it.
Whenever one of our clients hires us to represent them for injuries they've sustained in a wreck, one of the first things we do is send a letter to the at-fault party's insurance company to verify that they have coverage. The insurance company must then tell us, under oath, what kind of coverage (if any) they provide for the at-fault person.
Sometimes it turns out that the at-fault driver let their insurance coverage lapse. In that case, we send a letter to the at-fault driver telling them the insurance company doesn't cover them and to provide us with the correct insurance information. If they refuse to answer, we often hire a private investigator to find out about their coverage.
While we're looking into the at-fault driver's insurance we also send a letter to our client's insurance company to find out if their policy provides uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists' Coverage Examples
This is optional coverage you can have added to your policy that protects you up to the limits of your UM/UIM coverage in the event that at-fault party did not have insurance.
Let's say you have UM/UIM coverage and are hit by a driver who doesn't have insurance. We look at your insurance policy and discover that your UM coverage goes up to $50,000.
Since the driver who caused the wreck doesn't have insurance, your insurance company will cover you as if the defendant had $50,000.
Here's another example of how UM/UIM works. The at-fault driver who hit you only has minimum limits of $25,000 in liability coverage. You have uninsured motorist coverage of $50,000.
If it's a tradition UM/UIM plan, you subtract the liability coverage from your uninsured motorists' coverage. This nets you $25,000 in coverage available.
There are also UM/UIM policies known as excess or add-on policies. These don't subtract liability coverage from the available limits. The coverage is instead added on.
So if a driver with $25,000 in liability coverage hits you and you have $50,000 in UM/UIM, you would have $75,000 in total coverage.
Why Having UM/UIM Is So Important
About 1 in 12 Georgia drivers don't have vehicle insurance. If you're injured in a car accident by a person without insurance, you face an uphill battle trying to recover for your injuries and damages.
To recover anything from the uninsured person, you'd have to sue them individually and even that doesn't guarantee a positive outcome. The time and legal fees may not be worth it.
Again, if you're not sure if you have UM/UIM coverage, call your insurance company today to add it. In most cases, it's incredibly inexpensive and worth investing in should a collision ever happen.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Your insurance company is required to offer you the option to add UM/UIM to your policy on the insurance application. If we find out they don't have proof that you rejected the add-on coverage, the law gives you the benefit of the doubt and grants you the UM/UIM coverage automatically.
Another route we can take is to find out if any relatives were living with you at the time of the wreck. If they owned an insured vehicle with UM/UIM coverage, we may be able to apply that coverage to you.
Uninsured motorists' coverage is one of the best and easiest ways to protect yourself and your family from an uninsured driver, a driver with minimum coverage, and hit-and-run accidents.
As you can probably tell, car accident cases are complicated. You trust repair shops to fix your car and doctors to heal your injuries; trust our personal injury attorneys to help you with your legal needs.
We have the time, knowledge, and power to take on the insurance company and their team of lawyers. Take the hassle out of a personal injury claim and contact us for a free consultation regarding your motor vehicle accident case.