Being injured in a car accident can be painful physically, emotionally and financially. If you find yourself in this position, you may look to the insurance provider of the driver at fault to help cover the costs of medical treatment and property damage.
But what should you do if the driver at fault did not carry liability insurance at the time of the car accident?
Drivers are required by law to obtain and carry continuous auto liability insurance on vehicles with active registrations. This form of insurance indemnifies the driver at fault for any damages incurred in a car accident up to the policy limits. Simply stated, if another driver injures you in a car wreck, the other driver’s insurance will help cover your medical costs and property damage.
According to a 2014 study conducted by the Insurance Research Council, the number of uninsured drivers on the road in Georgia was just under 12 percent. If you find yourself in an accident with an uninsured driver, you can still seek damages for your injuries and property damage; however, you may not be able to fully recover the full amount of damages awarded by court or settlement.
Without liability insurance, the other driver will be personally responsible for paying for your medical costs, property damage, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Even with the help of a licensed attorney, there is no guarantee that you will be able to collect against the judgment.
To avoid this unfortunate situation, you should purchase additional insurance to further protect yourself from uninsured drivers. You could consider either or both of the following types of insurance coverage:
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury. This form of insurance coverage provides payment for injuries that you and your passengers sustain in a car accident when the driver at fault does not possess liability insurance at the time of the car accident.
- Underinsured Motorist. Similar to the insurance policy above, this coverage will pay for damages that are in excess of the amount that the at fault driver’s insurance covered.
Some states, like Georgia, combine the two coverages into one. Other states like South Carolina have one that is mandatory and another that is optional. Whatever your states rules are it is very wise to get as much of each of these types of coverages as possible. With uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, you can pursue a claim against the driver at fault and pursue a claim against your own insurance company for any damages you suffer as a result of a car accident. These forms of coverage typically apply when you have been injured in an accident involving a driver without insurance, a hit-and-run, or when there is not enough insurance available to cover your damages.
Underinsured and Uninsured coverages are very inexpensive and can be truly lifesaving when you are involved in an accident. It is always advisable that you always drive with liability insurance and carry additional coverage to protect you against uninsured drivers. In the chance you are injured in a car accident by an uninsured driver, you should seek the counsel of a qualified, licensed attorney experienced in handling personal injury matters.