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Dealing with Uninsured Motorists in Georgia: Legal Options for Compensation

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What Are the Auto Insurance Requirements Under Georgia Law?

Like most states, Georgia requires all drivers who operate vehicles on public roads and highways to carry a mandatory minimum auto insurance coverage. As stated by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance and Safety Fire (OCI), the minimum requirements for auto liability insurance are:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident;
  • Property damage: $25,000 per incident.

The insurance provider will automatically notify the state if a driver’s car insurance is terminated or expires. The driver is given 30 days from the expiration date to provide proof of new insurance. For a lapse in insurance of 10 days or less, drivers pay a $25 fee. If the fee is not paid within 30 days, or if the driver fails to provide proof of new insurance within the required time frame, their driver’s license and vehicle registration will be suspended.

How Many Drivers On the Roads Today Are Uninsured?

Despite the legal penalties and other consequences, approximately one in eight drivers in the U.S. are uninsured, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). According to a 2021 study, approximately 12.6% of motorists were not carrying auto insurance coverage as required by law. III ranked the top 10 highest and lowest states by estimated percentage of uninsured motorists in a recent year. Mississippi ranked the highest, with 29.4% uninsured drivers, while South Dakota ranked the lowest at 7.4%. Georgia came in at number 23, with 12.4% of drivers uninsured.

What Are Your Legal Options If You Are Hit by an Uninsured Driver?

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a crash caused by an uninsured driver, you may still have options for compensation under the law.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

While liability coverage is mandatory under the law, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is optional. Insurance companies in Georgia are required to offer this coverage, so it is probably included in your policy unless you explicitly reject it. If an uninsured driver hits you, your UM coverage will apply to help cover your damages.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can also kick in if you are hit by an underinsured driver with policy limits that are too low to cover your damages. The required minimums for liability coverage in Georgia are only $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $25,000 in property damage per incident. If your damages exceed those limits, your uninsured motorist coverage can help fill the gap.

When you are purchasing auto insurance, be sure to choose the “Add On” rather than the “Reduced” option for uninsured motorist coverage. With “Add On” UM coverage, you can add the amount of your coverage to the other driver’s coverage. “Reduced” UM coverage only pays the difference between what the at-fault driver’s policy pays and your coverage. For example, if you have $100,000 in UM coverage and the at-fault driver has $25,000, you will only have $75,000 of your own policy left to compensate you.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

In most car accident cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company covers the other driver’s damages. If the at-fault driver was uninsured at the time of the crash, you can still take legal action to pursue compensation by filing a lawsuit against the driver in civil court. Unfortunately, many uninsured motorists are “judgment proof,” meaning they lack the financial assets to cover your damages.

Do You Need a Lawyer for an Uninsured Motorist Accident?

Even when you are dealing with your own insurance company, it is crucial to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Insurance companies are in business for profit and are primarily interested in their bottom line. When you come to The Scott Pryor Law Group for legal representation, we can protect your rights, negotiate skillfully with insurance companies on your behalf, and fight for your rights in court if necessary. Founding attorney Scott Pryor has been named among the top 1% of trial attorneys in the nation. Contact us at (404) 474-7122.

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