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Injured By An Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist? What Recourse Do You Have?

An accident in and of itself can be life altering. Finding out that the party at fault is driving without insurance can add to the frustration of having to pick up the pieces and put your life back together. In Georgia every driver is required to maintain a certain level of liability insurance. When this law is ignored by irresponsible drivers this act becomes a criminal offense punishable by a fine and up to twelve months in jail. The uncertainty of the insured status of drivers on our roadways is more than enough reason to justify the existence of uninsured/ under-insured motorist coverage. The nationwide average estimates that one in seven motorist are uninsured. (USAtoday30) Because there is no guarantee that the person who causes an accident will have insurance, it is always advised to carry UM coverage to cover vehicle damages, medical expenses, lost wages, permanent disability, and death as a result of an accident.

UM coverage is issued by the insurance provider of an injured party and will typically pay out if the damage or injuries were caused by another driver other than the insured. In a sense, the injured party’s insurance company steps into the shoes of the negligent party to provide compensation when the negligent driver lacks insurance. UM coverage also comes into play when a negligent driver has insurance, but not enough to reasonably compensate for the damages and injuries he or she has caused. Even though Georgia requires liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per auto accident, ambulance fees, emergency room visits, life flights, physical therapy, medical specialists and lost wages can quickly exacerbate the cost of an accident beyond the minimum liability requirements.

Georgia drivers have three options available when it comes to uninsured motorist coverage–traditional UM coverage, stacked UM coverage and no UM coverage. Traditional UM coverage provides compensation if the negligent party is driving without insurance. With stackable UM coverage, the injured party’s insurance coverage would come into effect after the negligent driver’s policy has been maxed out and provide additional coverage for the injured party. Hence, the negligent driver’s and injured party’s policies can be stacked on top of each other. Stackable UM coverage is beneficial when the negligent driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover the injured party’s damages and expenses. (UM coverage)

The most common question asked by insured drivers is whether they need a personal injury attorney to deal with their own insurance company. After all, the insurance company is watching out for the interests of its insured, right? In most cases this is true. However, the goal of an insurance company is to increase its profits by limiting the number of claims it has to pay out and the amount of those claims. The moment an insured party files a UM claim under his or her insurance policy their relationship with their insurance company becomes adversarial. Therefore it is advised that an injured party seek their own independent counsel when pursuing a UM claim with their insurance company. Douglasville Personal Injury Lawyers offer free consultations and can advise you of the right course of action to take.