If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the liable driver may not have enough insurance to cover your losses. Perhaps, they’re even uninsured. If so, you need to hire an Atlanta uninsured motorist lawyer.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Graham Scofield Injury Lawyers will help you identify all insurance coverage sources. Then, we’ll help you collect that coverage. Our prior victories and our 5-star client reviews validate that promise.
Call us today at (404) 939-9470. Also, you may fill-out our online contact form to schedule a free case review with an Atlanta uninsured motorist lawyer. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers.
Georgia’s Auto Insurance Requirements
In the past, Georgia didn’t require drivers to carry car insurance. Therefore, many injured car accident victims could only recover compensation if they sued the liable driver and seized their assets. That was a lot of work. Also, few victims successfully collected those assets. Why? Because most folks don’t have significant assets. In fact, most Americans don’t even have enough savings to cover an unexpected $1,000 medical bill.
Nowadays, Georgia drivers must carry liability insurance. However, in 2019, 12% of Georgia motorists were still uninsured. Additionally, Georgia drivers only have to carry $25,000 liability coverage. That might sound like a lot of money. However, your medical bills quickly deplete that coverage.
For instance, if an ambulance transported you to the ER and you underwent x-ray and CT imaging scans, your medical bills may total $10,000 – $15,000. If you also did an MRI scan and followed up with an orthopedist, your total bills may easily exceed $25,000.
If the at-fault driver has no insurance coverage or insufficient coverage, call an uninsured motorist lawyer immediately.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance (UM/UIM coverage) covers damages that a policyholder receives from an uninsured/underinsured negligent driver. For instance, if you bought $25,000 uninsured motorist (UM) coverage and an uninsured motorist injures you, your policy covers all losses up to $25,000.
If you purchased $25,000 underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage and a motorist that only has $25,000 liability coverage injures you, your coverage may “stack” on top of the negligent driver’s policy to give you $50,000 total coverage.
Unfortunately, most people purchase “reduced” or “non-stackable” UIM coverage. That saves a few dollars. But it leaves you exposed.
Using the prior example, if the injured victim had $25,000 in “reduced” UIM coverage, the total settlement is only $25,000. Why? Because the UIM carrier gets a $25,000 offset from the at-fault driver’s coverage. Thus, the difference in total recoveries in these two examples is $25,000. That’s far more than the injured victim ever saved in monthly premiums.
Are You “Fully Covered”?
Many of our clients think they purchased stacking UM/UIM coverage because their insurance agents told them they were “fully covered.” Unfortunately, our clients’ agents misled them. They usually purchased “reduced” or “difference-in-limits” coverage which doesn’t stack. Indeed, they’re far from “fully covered”.
It’s not our clients’ fault. Insurance agents urge them not to buy stacking coverage. Their agents tell them that their premiums will be lower if they purchase “reduced” coverage. That’s true. But, they don’t tell our clients that the cost savings is negligible when you compare it to the lost coverage. You will need that coverage if an underinsured motorist injures you.
If you’re unsure whether you’re “fully covered,” you should contact an Atlanta uninsured motorist lawyer ASAP.
Filing Your UM/UIM Motorist Claim
Once your lawyer identifies all potential insurance coverage sources, they will file your UM/UIM claim. Next, the UM/UIM insurance adjuster will take your recorded statement. Make sure that your lawyer prepares you for that interview. The insurance adjuster isn’t your friend. That interview is designed to create a basis for denying your claim.
Sometimes, the adjuster also asks you questions about your injuries and medical treatment. Those questions might seem harmless. However, if you don’t answer them correctly, the insurance adjuster will use your responses to diminish your claim’s value. However, if you hire a lawyer, your lawyer will prep you to give an accurate response that also provides context.
If you already gave a recorded statement prior to hiring your lawyer, make sure you tell your lawyer. Your lawyer can obtain a copy of your statement.
Notify Your Underinsured Motorist Carrier ASAP
When you’re injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, it might seem counter-intuitive to notify your own auto insurer. After all, the at-fault driver’s insurer must cover your losses. You might even worry that your insurer will assume that you were at-fault.
Your concerns are sensible. However, O.C.G.A. § 33-7-11(h) requires you to notify your auto insurer “within a reasonable time” after the collision. If you don’t notify your insurer and you later decide to pursue a UM or UIM claim, your insurer might deny your claim.
Other Reasons Why You Should Notify Your Insurer
There are other practical reasons why you should process your claim through your own insurance carrier. For instance, if you purchased rental car coverage, your insurer will quickly provide you a rental vehicle. They will also process your collision damage claim. Typically, it takes less time to process a collision damage claim through your own insurer than it does to process the claim through the at-fault driver’s insurer.
You may also have purchased medical payments coverage. If you did, you can submit your medical bills to your own insurer and request that they reimburse you. It typically takes less time to process those medical payment claims through your own insurance carrier than it does to process the claim through the at-fault driver’s insurer. However, if your injuries are serious, your medical payments coverage won’t be enough to cover your medical bills. As such, you would also need to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, which is something you should really do in any case regardless of the severity of your injuries.
If I Make A Claim Against My Own Insurance Carrier Won’t My Premiums Increase?
No. It is against the law for your own insurance carrier to raise your premiums if you make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
Georgia Code 33-9-40 provides that “no insurer shall surcharge the premium or rate charged on a policy of motor vehicle insurance or cancel such policy as a result of the insured’s person in a multivehicle accident when such person was not at fault in such accident.”
Call an Uninsured Motorist Attorney for Advice Today
When you’re injured in a car crash, every extra insurance dollar matters. Lawyers that advertise on buses and billboards don’t have time to find every potential coverage source. They want to quickly settle your claim. Don’t let them do that. A quick settlement = a small settlement.
Our Atlanta car accident lawyers have the time and resources to recover every last insurance dollar. If the driver that injured you was uninsured or underinsured, we’ll do everything we can to make you whole.