What Should You Do If the Negligent Driver Has No or Too Little Automobile Insurance to Compensate You?
Under Georgia law, drivers of motor vehicles are required to have a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 in personal injury liability and $25,000 in property damage liability insurance coverages. Unfortunately, many negligent drivers are driving without this basic level of insurance. Even if they did purchase this coverage, the $25,000 in personal injury insurance could do little to fully compensate you for your injuries. Are there ways you can obtain the compensation you deserve if you are hit by a driver who has insufficient insurance to pay you?
Your Options When the Negligent Driver Has No Insurance or Not Enough Insurance
You still have options if the other driver has no insurance or a minimal amount of coverage, but the avenues of compensation could be more limited. Many of them involve making a claim with your own automobile insurance company. You could look to the following means of obtaining compensation for your injuries:
- Filing an uninsured motorist insurance claim. If the negligent driver had no insurance, you will need to turn to your own insurance policy to file a claim. Hopefully, you purchased uninsured motorist coverage to compensate you for your injuries in this situation. If so, you can file a claim with your own insurance company.
- Filing an underinsured motorist insurance claim. Underinsured motorist insurance coverage pays you when the negligent driver has insurance coverage, but it is insufficient to fully cover your losses. Add-on coverage allows you to receive the full amount of your claim—up to your policy limit—from your insurance company regardless of how much the other insurance company pays. However, you must have paid for this coverage to seek this compensation.
- Filing a property damage claim. If the other driver did not have any insurance, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company for your car repairs and other property damage—assuming you purchased collision coverage. If you owe a loan on your vehicle, you probably are required to have this insurance. Even if the other driver has insurance, you may decide to file a property damage claim with your insurance company so that you can get your car replaced or repaired more quickly.
- Filing a MedPay claim. Another type of insurance you could have purchased is MedPay coverage to pay your medical bills after an accident—no matter who caused the crash. If you have this coverage, it could reimburse you for your medical bills.
- Suing the other driver. If the other driver had no insurance or limited coverage, you have the option of suing him personally. If you can prove his negligence, you could obtain a money judgment against him. Practically speaking, it may be difficult for you to collect what you are owed. Few people—especially those who have insufficient or no insurance coverage—have the money or assets to pay the amount they could owe after a crash.
Don’t Assume the Negligent Driver Has No Insurance Coverage
If the negligent driver’s insurance company claims he had no insurance coverage on the date of your accident, you should not take this at face value. It is best to retain an experienced car accident attorney to investigate the driver’s insurance policy status. Sadly, some insurance adjusters advise victims that there is no coverage only to pay the claim at a later date. You want to be certain that the driver really had no insurance coverage before deciding not to fight for your right to compensation from his insurance company.
Importance of Reporting the Accident to Your Own Insurance Company
You always want to report your accident to your own insurance company soon after the crash. This is not filing a claim. You are fulfilling your contract obligations under your policy by reporting your claim and preserving your right to file a claim if you later need to—such as if you discover the driver had no or insufficient insurance coverage.
You need an attorney to help you through the process of negotiating your settlement, even if you are only making a claim with your own insurance company. Unfortunately, your insurance company could try to take advantage of you just like the negligent driver’s in an attempt to reduce what they pay you. Let David Brauns negotiate your settlement for you. Call our office at (404) 998-5252 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.