Hawk Law Group | January 3, 2022 | Car Accidents
Although it might seem surprising, you can sue for a car accident even if you did not receive injuries.
You might file a lawsuit to cover property losses in a few circumstances. You can also sue for mental or emotional injuries, even if you did not suffer any physical injuries.
Here is the information you need to know about suing for a car accident in Waynesboro, GA.
How Auto Insurance Works
Georgia uses a fault-based system of auto insurance. In the state, drivers must have insurance with bodily injury liability (BIL) and property damage liability (PDL) coverage.
Under these coverages, your insurer pays other people for the injuries and property damage you cause. Your liability insurance will not pay you for your injuries or property damage.
However, you can buy optional coverage that pays for harm when you get into certain types of accidents or suffer certain types of damages.
Medpay pays your medical bills up to your policy limit regardless of whether you caused the accident or not.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for injuries and property damage if you get hit by someone who did not have auto insurance.
Collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle after a collision caused by you or someone else.
When Should You Sue for a Car Accident?
People will often sue for a car accident when they lack insurance to cover their own losses. Under Georgia’s at-fault insurance system, this usually happens when you get hurt.
But what if the accident did not hurt you? You might still have property damage to your vehicle. In most situations, this means that you will file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Property damage is much easier to evaluate than damages from injuries. Occasionally, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may attempt to underestimate your losses. But you can usually arrive at a compromise based on repair estimates, Blue Book values, and other authoritative sources.
Sometimes, this claims process will not compensate you adequately for your losses. Some situations in which you might resort to a lawsuit even though you were not hurt include:
When You’re Hit by an Uninsured Motorist
If the driver who hit you lacked auto insurance and you do not have uninsured motorist coverage, you might choose to sue the driver. Without a lawsuit, you lack leverage over the driver. A lawsuit will force the driver to negotiate to help pay for your damaged vehicle.
Damages Are Greater than the PDL Policy Limits
Georgia requires every registered vehicle owner to carry at least $25,000 in PDL coverage. But this might not cover your losses in an accident if you have:
- An expensive vehicle
- A vintage vehicle
- A custom vehicle
This does not necessarily mean that you have to drive a Ferrari to pursue a lawsuit. You might have a van customized with a wheelchair lift. You might drive a classic car for which you cannot get replacement parts.
If your damages exceed the at-fault driver’s PDL limits, you can file a lawsuit to force the driver to make up the difference.
When You Incur Mental or Emotional Injuries
Bear in mind that both physical and mental or emotional injuries fall under BIL coverage.
You can file an insurance claim or a lawsuit after a crash that causes mental or emotional injuries, including PTSD, depression, or anxiety. This is true even if you suffered no physical injuries.
With this type of claim, you can seek compensation for costs associated with mental health counseling and therapy, medication, income losses, and mental anguish.
When Should You Talk to a Lawyer?
If you have concerns about settling your case, contact a lawyer. A lawyer can help you to identify all of the coverages that might compensate you for your losses. By doing this before you accept a settlement offer, you preserve your right to file a lawsuit and seek the full value of your damages.