What happens if you get in a car accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance?

Did you know that Georgia is one of the top 10 states where car insurance is most expensive? In our state, the average cost of full coverage car insurance is $2,000. In contrast, the average cost of minimum coverage car insurance for drivers is $575 – a stark contrast to the nationwide average of $1,655 per year for full coverage car insurance and $480 for minimum coverage.

Picture this: You drive around in confidence, knowing that your policy shields you if you ever cause an accident, but here comes the enemy you weren’t expecting – an at-fault driver with no insurance coverage.

When you get into an accident, and the other driver is at fault, their insurance is supposed to pay for your car repairs and medical costs for you and your passengers. But it’s a whole new story when the erring driver is uninsured.

What’s next?

There are two different paths your situation could take depending on if you have Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) or not. UM is a separate coverage you can add to your policy, and it protects you from shelling out your own money for injuries or property damage from a crash caused by an uninsured motorist.

If you have UM:

The compensation process is pretty simple.

When an uninsured driver causes physical injuries or damage to property, you will need to file an uninsured motorist claim with your insurance company for the amount of the damages you sustained. After that, your insurance company will process your claim similar to if an insured driver had injured you. The big difference is that your claim is against your insurance company rather than the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Be aware, however, that your UM will only cover losses up to your policy limits. You will be financially responsible for the damages suffered beyond those limits. And while UM sounds like the easy solution for accidents involving uninsured drivers, insurance companies do not easily part with their precious dollars and may deny your claims even when they seem indisputable.

But if you do not have UM:

If you don’t have UM and the other driver is uninsured and can’t pay, your road to compensation will be much more difficult.

You will have two steps to remedies to choose from at this point:

1) File a lien against a property owned by the erring uninsured driver as security during litigation; or

2) Unfortunately, most uninsured drivers are so because of financial difficulties and will not have enough assets to cover payments for damages you sustained.

These will proceed just like any ordinary personal injury or property damage lawsuit as civil cases. If you are successful in your claim, you may receive money to pay for the damages to your car, your medical bills, any wages you lost, plus amounts representing the pain and suffering you endured. If you are lucky enough to obtain a favorable judgment and the at-fault driver is insolvent, the court may set up a payment plan which means that you will have to wait a long time for total compensation (if at all).

To make the story short, you will have to foot the bill from your pocket.

Worse, the minimum coverage in Georgia is $25,000 for injury to one person and $50,000 for injuries in one accident. There is also a $25,000 minimum coverage for destruction to property.

If you figure into an accident and sustain serious injuries or suffer considerable damage to your car, these limits can quickly be exhausted. Without UM, you will not be able to recover anything further

unless you secure the services of a personal injury attorney who specializes in maximizing the compensation you may be entitled to receive.

Alternative remedy

You may also want to explore pinning the liability to a third party in the accident. Someone else may bear responsibility for your accident and the resulting damages.

For example, if the uninsured driver was drinking and was driving a car borrowed from a friend, the friend who negligently and knowingly entrusted their vehicle to a drunk driver may be liable for damages you sustain.

Uninsured driver, insured car

If you get into an accident with an uninsured driver driving an insured vehicle, the insurance policy that covers the car will cover your damages unless the driver doesn’t have permission to be driving the car or has been expressly excluded from the vehicle owner’s policy.

Let us take the wheel.

What happens after an accident with an uninsured motorist will depend on whether you have UM, your insurance provider’s cooperation, and which remedy you will ultimately take. Although all these may sound overwhelming, it’s our job to take the weight off your shoulders. Schedule a free consultation with Council & Associates, LLC to discuss your situation and possible options.

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