If you’ve been in a car accident, then learned that the other driver who was at fault did not have insurance, you may be wondering “Can I sue an uninsured driver?” Let’s go over your options and why it may or may not be worth it. Keep reading to learn more.
Georgia law O.C.G.A. § 40-6-10 states that all drivers who own and drive a motor vehicle must have minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage. This minimum insurance is required to cover the cost of property damage or bodily harm to another driver if they cause an accident.
However, this comes with a few complications. First of all, minimum liability insurance is just that — the bare minimum — typically not extensive enough to cover accidents with severe injuries.
The cost of current and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages claimed by the injured driver are likely to exceed the coverage of minimum liability insurance. Secondly, although it’s a misdemeanor to drive without insurance in Georgia, many drivers still do it every day.
So, what do you do if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
Well, you can either file a claim against the uninsured motorist (UM) with their insurance company, file a claim against the person directly, or file a claim against another potentially liable party.
Unfortunately, none of these options are as simple as they may seem. These are complicated claims and you’ll need the help of a good lawyer.
Your first step is to file a claim with the UM’s insurance company. Essentially, your own insurance policy includes coverage if you get into an accident with a driver who is at fault and doesn’t have minimum coverage.
Your policy also covers you when the other driver has minimum liability insurance, but damages and the cost of your injuries exceed their coverage limit. This coverage automatically comes with your car insurance unless you specifically ask for it to be excluded.
You can file a claim against the UM’s insurance company by letting your insurance company know about the accident as soon as possible after you learn that the person who hit you was uninsured.
Some policies have a very short period of time after the accident that they will accept these claims, so it’s important to file a claim right away. The UM’s insurance company has the right under Georgia law to investigate the circumstances of the accident and determine who was at fault.
Some policies require the claim to be issued in writing. If the claim is not made in a timely manner and submitted in the correct format, you could be left without any coverage from the UM’s insurance.
If the UM’s insurance company denies your claim, your next option is to sue. But in Georgia, you can’t sue the UM’s company directly — instead, you have to sue the uninsured or underinsured driver. This is a complicated process, and you should be warned that the UM’s insurance company will likely be on the uninsured driver’s side.
Although we might like to believe that insurance companies are on the side of truth and fairness, in reality, their main goal is to keep as much money in their pockets as possible. The UM’s insurance company may try to prove that you’re at fault or that the other driver did not act with negligence to avoid paying out on a policy.
It’s also important to understand that someone who can’t afford car insurance usually doesn’t have the money to pay for damages. So even if you win your case, you could be left with little or no compensation.
If you’re still wondering whether you can sue an uninsured driver, the short answer is yes. But this type of lawsuit can get very tricky, so it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney if you are going to be filing a claim of this kind.
Some accidents aren’t caused by two drivers alone. The accident may have occurred because you and the uninsured driver both swerved out of the way of a separate accident, or perhaps you were cut off by a truck first.
There can be more than one party held liable for an accident, so it’s important to identify all potential at-fault parties right away. You may be able to file a claim against another party in order to get compensated for your damages. Potentially liable parties include other drivers on the road at the time of the accident, motor vehicle manufacturers, highway maintenance companies, and trucking companies.
If you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver, don’t be discouraged, there is a Macon car accident lawyer standing by to help. Mike Rafi has years of experience fighting for injured people in Georgia and will work hard to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Call us today at (478) 216-1664 to schedule your free consultation.