Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | February 22, 2021
In an ideal circumstance, any driver who was to blame for a car accident would have sufficient insurance to cover all of the damages that they caused. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Some drivers may be unaware that liability insurance is a requirement in their state. Others may simply continue to drive after their insurance policy has lapsed. Although Georgia motorists are legally obligated to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance, sometimes, they do not comply.
As of 2015, 12% of drivers in Georgia were uninsured. So if you are involved in a collision in Georgia, the chances that the other driver will be uninsured are disturbingly high.
Because of this possibility, insurance providers offer uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This type of coverage protects you against the potential damage from an accident caused by an uninsured driver. However, it is important to note that Georgia state law does not require you to carry uninsured motorist protection.
Additionally, some drivers are simply underinsured. In cases like these, the at-fault party’s insurance may not cover all of the damages that you suffered from an accident.
Below, we will discuss some of the steps that you should take if you have been hit by an uninsured driver. It might be a difficult situation to experience, but being prepared and taking the right steps can help.
Contact Your Own Insurance Provider
If you have been involved in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, the first thing you should do is contact your own insurance company. You may need to make a claim through your own policy. You should be able to do this if you have standard collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage.
Uninsured motorist policies are intended to make up for any damages done by someone who does not have any auto insurance. Alternatively, an underinsured motorist policy can make up the difference in damages for drivers whose coverage is inadequate.
Essentially, these types of coverage make your insurance company responsible for the damages that the other driver’s insurance would normally have to pay. After paying for your damages, your insurance company would be free to seek repayment from the at-fault driver or their provider, if they choose to do so.
While this type of policy may sound like a perfect solution for accidents that involve uninsured drivers, it is not. Some insurance companies engage in bad faith actions in order to deny claimants the benefits that they are rightfully due.
In some cases, claimants have had to take their own insurance providers to court to secure the benefits guaranteed under their UM policy. Having legal representation is incredibly important when dealing with uncooperative insurance companies.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Following an accident with an uninsured motorist, you should examine your own insurance policy to look for potentially relevant coverage. After this, contact a skilled auto accident attorney to discuss the details of your case.
You may need to contact your insurance company to report the accident. You should not communicate with them more than you have to before you secure legal representation. Many people believe that their insurance provider will simply examine the damages associated with their collision and send out that amount of compensation, but this is a false assumption.
It is very important to realize that insurance adjusters do not have your best interests in mind. Their primary goal is to decrease the amount that they are required to pay out on each claim. You should never provide a written or recorded statement to your insurance provider. Speak to an attorney first.
If you have collision coverage, you should be able to use it to cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. This is true regardless of who was at fault for the accident. With both UM and collision coverage, you will have to pay your own deductible.
But in both of these cases, your provider can attempt to secure reimbursement from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. This is known as subrogation. If your insurance company secures repayment, it will then reimburse you for the cost of your deductible.
What to Do If You Do Not Have Full-Coverage Car Insurance
When you have been hit by an uninsured motorist and you do not have full coverage auto insurance, getting the money that you need may be difficult. However, there are a few options that will be available to you. These include:
Securing the Services of a Personal Injury Attorney
Finding legal representation in a case like this may be challenging. Personal injury lawyers tend to avoid cases in which securing compensation seems unlikely. However, if you can find an attorney to represent you, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Taking the At-Fault Driver to Small Claims Court
If you choose to do so, you can take the uninsured motorist to small claims court on your own. You should only pursue this option if you cannot find a personal injury lawyer who is willing to take your case. However, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to recover full compensation, as there is usually a financial reason why someone is not appropriately covered by an insurance policy.
Identifying Another Liable Party
Another option is to attempt to identify another liable party in the accident. Someone else may bear responsibility for your accident and the resulting damages.
For example, suppose the uninsured driver was drinking and had borrowed the car from a friend. In this case, the friend who negligently entrusted an inebriated motorist with their vehicle might be at fault.
No matter what the circumstances of your accident may be, scheduling a free consultation with a car accident lawyer is a smart decision. They will examine the circumstances of your case and help you to understand what kind of compensation you might be entitled to.