Atlanta Uninsured Car Accident Lawyer
Georgia drivers are required by law to carry liability insurance that will cover personal injury and property damages if they cause a wreck and injure another person. When you sue the at-fault driver in a car accident, you are really making a claim against that driver’s insurer. It’s the insurance company lawyers who will fight you in court or settle with you out of court, and it’s the insurance company’s pockets that will pay any settlement or jury verdict against the at-fault driver.
So what happens if the driver who hit you doesn’t have insurance? You could sue them personally and get a judgment against them, and then try to collect that judgment by putting a lien on their property. But the at-fault driver might not have the assets needed to satisfy the judgment. Another option is to file a claim (or lawsuit) with your own insurance company, invoking your uninsured motorist coverage. Either way, the Atlanta uninsured car accident lawyers at Shiver Hamilton Campbell have the skills, resources, dedication and experience needed to prove your case and recover the significant amount of compensation you need for your medical care, lost income, pain and suffering, and other legal damages.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by an uninsured driver in metro Atlanta, or if you are an attorney needing help with a complicated car accident case, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell for a free consultation. We have a record of litigating and trying complex cases and catastrophic injuries and obtaining excellent results for our deserving clients.
Georgia Auto Liability Insurance Law
Georgia law requires all drivers in the state to carry liability insurance to pay damages they cause to others when they are at fault in a car accident. The minimum amounts required by law in Georgia are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
Recognizing how expensive and damaging serious crashes can be, some policyholders opt for higher amounts of bodily injury coverage, such as $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. At the other end of the spectrum, some drivers don’t bother getting liability insurance at all, or they get it long enough to renew their vehicle registration and then drop it, gambling that they won’t get into an accident and be required to show proof of insurance. The Insurance Information Institutes estimates that 12.4% (about one in eight) drivers in Georgia don’t have liability insurance.
Because of the risk of getting hit by an uninsured driver, it’s wise to carry uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage on your own liability insurance policy. As the name implies, UM/UIM will cover your damages if you are hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance or who only carries the minimum amounts, when that amount is insufficient to cover your damages. UM/UIM can cover you outright or make up the difference between your damages and the other driver’s policy limits.
By law, insurance providers must offer UM/UIM coverage when selling liability insurance policies in Georgia, but policyholders can reject this coverage in writing if they so choose. The additional cost of UM/UIM coverage is only a small portion of your premium, and we recommend that you accept UM/UIM coverage and carry as much of it as the liability coverage you opt for (which should be more than the minimum amount if you can afford it).
Contributory or Comparative Negligence
Atlanta is a contributory negligence jurisdiction. When someone suffers an injury and is partially at fault, they could recover compensation from the other party who may be at fault provided their negligence is less than 50 percent. If the plaintiff’s negligence is 50 percent or more, they may not recover any compensation.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Compensation
Georgia’s minimum insurance limit is only $25,000, meaning the amount a person may cover for someone they injured is just $25,000. A large number of the American population may not have more than $500 saved to cover an emergency. When someone with no assets causes a two million dollar injury or even death, the only recovery regardless of the actual cost of the injury may be the state minimum of $25,000.
A person may receive a multi-million-dollar verdict against an individual, but unless that individual has assets to pay the verdict and judgment, the judgment could effectively be worthless. People in Georgia may apply for and purchase uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) from their auto insurance company along with their liability coverage.
If an individual with an uninsured motorist coverage is seeking compensation for a car accident, they may benefit from speaking to an Atlanta uninsured car accident lawyer.
The UM/UIM policy may provide coverage to the person who purchased the policy, the passenger in their car, and any relatives of the person who lives with them. When an individual suffers an injury and the other party has no insurance or does not have sufficient insurance, the person’s insurance company may cover the claim up to the amount of coverage they purchased. It is possible to purchase up to several million dollars of underinsured motorist coverage and could also relatively be inexpensive.
Since a person has more control over a UM/UIM policy, it could be a bargain considering potentially as important as having liability coverage. A unique aspect of Georgia law is that to collect against uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, the injured person must sue the at-fault driver. A person could speak to an Atlanta uninsured car accident lawyer regarding how the UM/UIM policy affects their car accident.
Hit & Runs
When a hit and run driver flees the scene, the injured person must sue them and serve their UM carrier. The UM carrier may answer the complaint, defend the case, cross-examine the injured party, and may dispute the case even though it is the injured person’s insurance company. When an at-fault driver has some insurance but not enough, and they may need their underinsured motorist coverage to fill in the gap, the same scenario applies. They may sue the at-fault driver and serve them; they also serve their underinsured motorist carrier.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Make the Most of Your Uninsured Motorist Claim
Some people who get injured by an uninsured driver make the mistake of thinking it will be an easy process to make a claim with their insurance company. But any time you make an insurance claim, your interests and the interests of your insurer are adverse. If they can avoid liability, they will. If they can settle your claim for less than it is worth, they will do that too. It is well-known in the industry that people who settle insurance claims without an attorney get far less than they would if they had a lawyer representing them.
At Shiver Hamilton Campbell, we handle car accident claims every day, including those against insured, uninsured, and underinsured motorists. When you make a claim with “your” insurance company, their duty is divided between paying your valid claim and maximizing their profit for their shareholders. Our loyalty, indeed our ethical duty as lawyers, is to represent your interests and not anybody else’s. We are here to make sure you get the medical care and compensation you need and deserve after being hurt in an accident by a negligent driver, whether the party on the other side of the negotiating table or courtroom is the other driver’s insurance company or your own. Count on our team to represent you zealously and capably, with an eye toward getting you the great results you ought to have.
Get the Help You Need After a Car Accident With an Uninsured Driver in Metro Atlanta
If you have been injured in a metro Atlanta car accident with an uninsured driver, or if you lost a loved one in an Atlanta area crash, call Shiver Hamilton Campbell at 404-593-0020 for a free consultation. We take on cases involving the most serious catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, and we fight to secure significant compensation for our clients who were hurt because of another’s negligence or wrongful conduct.