Understanding Georgia Automobile Insurance Before an Accident Occurs (Part 2 of 3)
July 12, 2011
In part two of our three-part series for understanding Georgia auto insurance, we will be focusing on uninsured motorist coverage. In our first series, we discussed liability coverage and how it relates to a personal injury claim. If you will recall, liability coverage is to protect your assets if you are at fault in causing a motor vehicle collision.
In this part, we examine how to protect yourself if the other person is at fault and does not have enough automobile liability insurance to adequately compensate you for your injuries. In the first part, we closed with the following question: If the minimum limits in Georgia for liability insurance coverage are $25,000.00 how do you protect yourself if someone else is at fault for causing the wreck? What if your medical bills exceed these limits and you cannot work?
Answer: Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Georgia uninsured motorist coverage is optional insurance that protects you if someone injures you and does not have adequate coverage or any coverage at all. Thus, your insurance company will pay for your injuries in the event that someone else is at fault for causing the auto collision. The best way to explain this is by an example. Let’s say that someone hits you and causes severe injuries. Let’s say that your personal injury claim is worth $100,000.00. If the person that hits you only has $25,000 in liability coverage and you do not have any uninsured motorist coverage, then if the person does not have any assets, the most that you will likely recover is $25,000 for a claim that is worth $100,000.00.
So how do you protect yourself in this situation? Purchase uninsured motorist coverage. If you had uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000.00 then you would be able to collect $25,000.00 from the other party and an additional $75,000.00 from your insurance company to total $100,000.00 to compensate you for your injuries. The same holds true of the person that caused the Georgia auto accident did not have any insurance whatsoever. Your insurance company will “step into the shoes” of the person that hit you and will pay you for the damages that the other person caused.
The importance of underinsured motorist coverage should never be underestimated. This is your only way to ensure that you and your family are protected if the other driver has limited coverage and you have sustained catastrophic personal injuries. In the absence of uninsured motorist coverage, you could be left with unpaid medical bills, unpaid lost wages, and you and your family could face financial ruin for something that you did not cause. Be sure to talk to your agent about the availability of uninsured motorist coverage and make sure that you have this coverage on your Georgia auto policy. It is your best protection if you are involved in a Georgia auto accident.
Most people say that it does not seem fair that your insurance company has to pay for what the other person caused. That may very well be true, but it is better to have your insurance company pay than for you to be faced with financial ruin. It is not a perfect system, but it is the best option we have. You can take some consolation in the fact that your insurance company will then have the right to go after the at-fault party for what it paid out, this is referred to as subrogation.
At Henningsen Injury Attorneys, P.C., we stand willing and able to help you or anyone you know who may have been injured. Our Atlanta car accident lawyers have a keen understanding of personal injury in Georgia Whether it be due to an automobile accident, truck accident, workplace injury, slip and fall, or any other type of accident, we have the resources to make sure that you are fully and fairly compensated for all that you or your loved one has been through. Either through an out of court settlement, or if the matter has to be tried before a jury, we stand willing to make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve.
In 2009, Georgia’s personal injury and insurance law changed so that you can choose between having “added-on” or “non-added-on” uninsured motorist coverage. This example assumes “non-added-on” uninsured motorist coverage. For simplicity, in this guide, we do not go into the differences between the two types of coverage, but if you want to learn more please call my office at 404-835-4935.