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Sandy Springs Uninsured Driver Accident Lawyer
Car accidents happen all the time, but thanks to auto insurance, the damages and costs following an accident can be more manageable. When a negligent driver causes an accident, their insurance should cover the damages caused by the accident since Georgia is an at-fault state.
However, when the driver at-fault doesn’t have insurance or is underinsured, the expenses from the accident can fall back on you, which is why your insurance company offers uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
When you’ve been involved in an accident, you can usually sue the driver at fault to recover damages from the accident. Unfortunately, if the accident is with an uninsured motorist, it can be much more challenging to receive compensation for your injuries and damages.
If you were injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, an uninsured or underinsured motorist lawyer can help determine what kind of legal action you can take and will help you navigate through the process. To learn more about how a Sandy Springs uninsured driver accident lawyer can help you following your accident, schedule a free consultation by calling 770-394-8909.
How Many U.S. Drivers Are Uninsured?
Drivers may be shocked to learn that not everyone on the roads has the minimum insurance coverage required in their states. In fact, the Insurance Research Council reported in a 2021 study that one in eight drivers are uninsured.
Many drivers will get the bare minimum required auto insurance when they purchase their vehicle and then cancel it, while others purchase insurance and then refuse payment.
While one out of eight drivers failing to carry insurance may not seem like a large number, that’s about 29 million drivers throughout the U.S. that don’t have liability coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
About 12% of motorists in Georgia don’t have the minimum required auto insurance coverage. Since many drivers on the road don’t have insurance, insurance companies offer uninsured motorist coverage plans for their customers to put on their own insurance policy in the event that they’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
You can be involved in an auto accident with an uninsured motorist at any time. Adding uninsured motorist insurance to your auto insurance may feel like a waste of money, but when you think about all the drivers out there without insurance, uninsured motorist coverage can be very important. Without it, you may never get compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
A wreck with an underinsured motorist can be just as costly as a wreck with an uninsured motorist.
An underinsured motorist is one that has insurance, but their coverage is so low that it doesn’t cover the damages from an auto accident.
In accidents with uninsured and underinsured drivers, the victim is often left footing the bill for medical costs, lost wages, property damages, and more. When you think about how much a person without insurance can affect you in the event of an accident, it makes adding underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist benefits to your insurance a good idea.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Georgia
Drivers in Sandy Springs must purchase the minimum liability insurance limits required by law to drive on the roads and highways throughout the state.
Georgia law requires drivers to have at least the following:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per incident
The above property and bodily injury coverage are the minimum policy limits the state requires all drivers to carry. Liability insurance will help cover other people’s medical bills and property damages if you’ve caused a car accident.
If you’re ruled to be the at-fault driver in an accident, this minimum coverage will help pay for medical expenses and property damage for the other drivers and passengers involved. Liability insurance will not pay for your medical expenses and property damage if you are at fault.
Obviously, you can purchase more coverage from your insurance company for liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, gap insurance, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, and more. Carrying more insurance coverage than the minimum requirements is recommended because minimum limits will only cover damages up to a certain point.
Say you’ve caused a catastrophic accident; your minimum liability policy limits probably won’t cover the extent of a head or bodily injury or property damages to the other person after the insurance claim. When your coverage runs out, you’re left to foot the bill for their damages out of your own pocket.
What Happens if I Drive Without Car Insurance in Georgia?
Operating a vehicle in Georgia without the minimum required liability coverage is illegal. Even if you had an insurance policy, but it lapsed and is no longer active, you’re still guilty of illegally operating your vehicle. Maintaining insurance is part of Georgia’s laws.
Drivers that have insurance but do not carry liability insurance information in their vehicle can also face penalties.
Georgia motorists may think they save money when driving without insurance coverage. However, the penalties that one can face can often cost more than the actual insurance policy for all parties involved.
The punishments for driving without the minimum liability insurance coverage are listed below:
First Offense for Driving Without Insurance in Georgia
- $200 in fines
- License suspension for at least 60 days
- $25 lapse fee
- $60 registration reinstatement fee
Subsequent Offenses for Driving Without Insurance in Georgia
- Up to $1,000 in fines
- A one-year maximum jail sentence
- License suspension for at least 90 days
- $25 lapse fee
- $160 maximum registration reinstatement fee
Georgia’s Insurance Laws
Georgia is harsher compared to other states when it comes to uninsured motorist penalties, with many drivers facing misdemeanor charges.
The state also has stricter guidelines regarding suspended licenses following an insurance-related offense.
Many states will return a driver’s license once they prove they’re an insured driver. Georgia, however, suspends a driver’s license for the entire period regardless of whether they obtain insurance during that time.
Once the suspension is over, drivers must pay a license reinstatement fee to drive legally. So the next time you want to cut costs and cancel your insurance policy, remember the penalties above and reconsider if it’s really worth it.
Is Georgia an At-Fault State?
Yes, Georgia is considered an at-fault state, meaning that if you’re injured by another person in an auto accident, you can recover damages through the other driver’s insurance company. However, in at-fault states, a problem can arise if the at-fault party doesn’t have auto insurance.
When you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver or underinsured driver, you can be forced to pay for medical bills and other damages out of your own pocket. The good news is that you can sue the driver responsible for causing the car crash, but your chances of recovering much from the lawsuit are minimal since many uninsured drivers don’t have much money or assets.
In a no-fault state, it doesn’t matter who is found at fault for the car crash because your own insurance policy covers damages via included UM (uninsured motorist) coverage or UIM (underinsured motorist) coverage.
While this may sound good, accident victims are extremely limited on whether they can file a claim against the other driver. In order to pursue legal action and file a claim against the negligent driver, you must meet the minimum requirements for personal injury and property damage.
How to Prove Fault in a Car Accident
Proving fault is key in any successful car accident case. All personal injury lawsuits, car crash accidents included, depend on establishing the four elements of negligence.
When you work with Ashenden & Associates, you can count on an experienced personal injury attorney to build the strongest case possible and prove that the neglect of the other driver caused the accident and your head or bodily injury.
The four elements of a personal injury lawsuit include:
Duty of Care
All drivers owe a standard duty of care to other motorists on the roadways. This standard of care means that drivers should use caution while driving with the safety of others in mind.
Breached Duty of Care
When a person drives drunk or negligently, they’ve breached this standard duty of care, putting everyone around them in danger.
Your Sandy Springs personal injury lawyer will show someone else’s negligence led to injuries and other damages. Had the negligent motorist followed their required duty of care, the accident would not have occurred.
Finally, your personal injury lawyer will prove that the at-fault driver should be responsible for compensating you for damages sustained from the accident.
One of our Sandy Springs personal injury attorneys will work diligently to prove the four elements of negligence when we file a claim for your car accident case.
At Ashenden & Associates, we will gather evidence from the accident, like pictures and witness statements, in order to get a better visual idea of what happened. Our law firm will also obtain a copy of the police report from the police officer on duty and your medical records related to injuries sustained from the accident before we file a claim on your behalf.
In addition to proving negligence, your Ashenden & Associates personal injury lawyer will negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company on your behalf.
This part of the car accident claims process can be extremely complicated, which is why it’s important to have a trusted car accident attorney lobbying on your behalf to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.
Modified Comparative Fault in Georgia
In addition to being an at-fault state, Georgia observes the 50% modified comparative fault rule. According to Georgia Code § 51-12-33, the amount of damages that a person can recover following a motor vehicle accident will be reduced by the percentage of which they are determined to be at fault for the accident.
We’ll better explain how the modified comparative fault rule works:
If you get into an accident where the other driver is mostly to blame for the accident, but you were sending a text message during that time, you can be held partially at fault.
Using this example, the insurance company may place 90% of the blame on the other driver and you with 10%.
This means that your damages will be reduced by 10%. The 50% modified comparative fault rule also states that if one driver is more than 50% responsible for an accident, they won’t be able to recover any damages from the accident.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM coverage) is an additional insurance coverage that can protect you if you’re involved in an auto accident where the other driver does not have insurance. In addition to an uninsured motorist policy, most insurance companies also offer underinsured motorist coverage for drivers that don’t have enough insurance to cover damages or injuries they’re responsible for.
While many states require drivers to have either uninsured motorist insurance and/or underinsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage), Georgia is not one of those states.
Even though it’s against the law for drivers to not have insurance, many drivers don’t carry the minimum liability insurance policies. Adding an uninsured or underinsured driver policy to your insurance is something everyone should consider.
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist, this coverage can protect you from facing unnecessary financial hardship. If the driver at fault is an uninsured or underinsured driver, you could be forced to pay medical expenses and other damages out of your own pocket.
Can I Sue an Uninsured Driver For Hitting Me?
If you’re involved in an uninsured motorist accident, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. However, uninsured motorists often have limited assets, making it difficult to recover damages.
How to Collect Compensation From An Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
If you decide to pursue legal action against the uninsured driver, your Sandy Springs personal injury attorney will run a credit check to determine their assets. And if your attorney discovers that the uninsured driver doesn’t have much to offer and a personal injury lawsuit would be a waste of time, you’ll have to file an uninsured motorist claim with your own insurance company in order to recover damages from the accident.
If your underinsured motorist lawyer finds that the at-fault driver does have assets, they will move forward with filing the personal injury lawsuit.
Working with an experienced uninsured motorist attorney is important when you’re considering filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Our Sandy Springs attorneys will evaluate your case and make sure that filing a lawsuit won’t be a wasted effort.
At Ashenden & Associates, our legal team always has our client’s best interests in mind which is why we carefully investigate uninsured motorists before pursuing legal action.
Working With Your Insurance Company for Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Accident Claims
Even if our attorneys find that the uninsured motorist doesn’t have enough assets to warrant a lawsuit, we can still work with your insurance company on your behalf.
Just because you have uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage doesn’t mean that your insurance company will award you maximum compensation. Insurance companies are notorious for offering minimum compensation for damages.
Working with a personal injury lawyer at Ashenden & Associates can help you secure maximum compensation for your injuries and damages. It’s important to meet with a personal injury law firm before contacting your insurance agent because they often take words and phrases out of context to support a lower compensation amount.
Car Accident Damages
If your Sandy Springs uninsured motorist attorney finds that you have a viable lawsuit against the at-fault driver, your legal team will work to recover both economic and non-economic damages from the uninsured motorist.
Economic damages are those that have monetary value. These damages can usually be proven with receipts and other documentation.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are harder to define and don’t have a financial value.
Many states cap the amount of non-economic damages since assigning a dollar amount is challenging. Georgia is not one of those states.
So, when you file a personal injury lawsuit in the state, you won’t be limited on the amount you can be awarded for pain and suffering.
The personal injury lawyers at Ashenden & Associates have successfully recovered the following damages for their clients involved in car accidents and other personal injury claims:
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Medical bills – both past and future
- Physical therapy – both past and future
- Mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability
- Counseling expenses
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
In the event that the uninsured motorist accident resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one, you can pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. The damages you can recover from a wrongful death lawsuit will vary from the usual personal injury lawsuit and cover expenses like funeral and burial costs.
If your loved one was killed in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact the Sandy Springs wrongful death attorneys today.
Call Sandy Springs Uninsured Motorist Attorneys at Ashenden & Associates Today
If you were involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, you still have legal options available. While recovering damages from the at-fault uninsured driver may be challenging, an experienced personal injury attorney at Ashenden & Associates is ready to help.
Following your accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, a Sandy Springs personal injury lawyer will evaluate your case and determine whether you can pursue legal action against the at-fault driver.
If you’re unable to sue the uninsured driver, your legal team can help negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf.
Just because you have uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t mean that you’ll be awarded maximum damages from your insurance company. An uninsured motorist attorney will work with your insurance company and significantly improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
To schedule a free consultation with a Sandy Springs uninsured motorist attorney, call Ashenden & Associates at 770-394-8909 today.